Medical facility staff say they need better working conditions with higher medical standards.
By Mladen Dragojlovic for Southeast European Times in Banja Luka -- 22/02/13
A Banja Luka hospital was without heat this winter for days. [Mladen Dragojlovic/SETimes]
The Republika Srpska health ministry said it has a plan to modernise medical buildings and improve the general working standard in facilities that still largely fail to meet EU standards, almost two decades after the armed conflict in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH).
"Plans for this year include ending several projects in various RS cities, such as the general hospital in Nevesinje, center for forensic medicine in Sokolac, and a few others. We plan to finish projects of hemodialysis centers in Foca and Trebinje," Natasa Aleksic, health ministry spokesperson, told SETimes.
Some BiH hospitals date from the early 20th century, as is case with the east Sarajevo hospital known as Kasindol, which was built in 1921 as a pulmonary diseases sanatorium. The facility was turned into a hospital in the early 1990s when the first wounded soldiers and civilians arrived from the armed conflicts.
"There was no other hospital near the front line and we suddenly had to deal with patients we've never had before. It was hard, especially because we were inexperienced with such wounds. We didn't have equipment and proper accommodation for the wounded," Slavko Zdrale, Kasindol manager, told SETimes.
"We expect much from the RS Health Ministry. As far as I know, they plan to build a new hospital with necessary equipment in line with the EU standards. In its present condition, the hospital is a century away from those standards. Doctors and other medical staff are trying to provide patients the best care, but it's often impossible," Zdrale said.
The staff is making a similar effort at other medical facilities in the RS, like the Banja Luka clinical centre. The centre has two locations, one in the city in the old buildings where conditions are so poor that for several days this winter there was no heating. The second location, on the Paprikovac Hill, is more modern, but needs improvements.
Nenad Stevadnic, an otorhinolaryngologist at the Banja Luka clinical centre, is skeptical about the rebuilding plans.
"My colleagues and I are making an effort to have the EU standards, but it's difficult because of the lack of equipment. I expect improvements after reconstruction of the buildings to be more in line with the EU standard, which must also address the needs of our patients, and not the health ministry officials' needs," Stevandic told SETimes.