EU launches 10 million euro project to strengthen healthcare in BiH

Today, the EU Office to BiH announced a 10 million euros project to strengthen preventive and primary healthcare in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is part of the European Union’s continuous support for health sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will be implemented by the UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, and World Bank.

It was not so long ago that we faced – together – one of the greatest challenges of our lifetimes – the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time of need the EU stood firmly by BiH. We remain this country’s most loyal and reliable partner, providing the most sustainable and most significant support for BiH citizens. Investments in health care, such as this project we are announcing today, are not just beneficial in themselves, but are also good for countries’ growth and stability. Sustainable and impactful support goes to the heart of our action here in BiH. We are supporting a joint future, with BiH proudly taking its place in the EU”, said Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative to BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler.

Over the next four years, the project “EU Support to Health Sector Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina” will focus on supporting reforms of primary healthcare and provide capacity building of the BiH health sector. It will also contribute to the development of policies to scale-up child health services with a specific focus on childhood immunisation, early childhood development services, nutrition and mental health.

“Severe strain the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on health systems in BiH has additionally underlined the need for robust health systems, capable of providing high-quality, people-centred care. This will be the focus of the World Health Organization in this Project: its technical content, proposing interventions that are multidisciplinary, integrated, making the healthcare systems people-centred, by strengthening primary health care and making the health and care systems fit for moving towards and achieving universal health coverage”, said Special Representative of the WHO Regional Director for Europe Erwin Cooreman.

During the event, the EU Office to BiH, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the project-implementing partners from UNICEF, World Health Organisation, and World Bank.

Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation, within the “EU Support to Health Sector Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina” project, is a clear sign that EU Offcie in BiH and UNICEF BiH cooperation has its past, present, and future, all with an effort to reform and improve the health systems in BiH” said UNICEF Representative to BiH Dr Rownak Khan.

We see this grant as catalytic and expect it to accelerate transformation in the health systems through training, regulatory changes, learning exchanges, and analysis. This initiative also will contribute to our current USD 75 million Health Systems Improvement Project, which the World Bank Board of Governors approved on April 7, 2022”, said Country Manager for BiH and Montenegro Christopher Sheldon.

The event was also attended by the representatives of the competent authorities and the Directorate for European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the pandemic, the EU provided the largest amount of support for BiH with more than 20 million euros for the procurement of high quality medical equipment, vaccines and cold chain equipment to store vaccines. The EU also provided more than 75 million euros to support socioeconomic recovery in BiH from the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of strengthening the BiH economy and ensuring retention of existing job and creating new ones.