By Katica Djurovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 17/10/12
public health concerns in Serbia are cardiovascular disease and cancer
which, cause 55 percent and 20 percent of the deaths, respectively.
World Health Organization (WHO) office in Belgrade said that Serbia is
well on the way to improving its healthcare system, although experts
say the nation still has many problems.
two years we reach an agreement with the ministry [of health], which
makes a list of priorities, and we help their work, bring our experts,
organise workshops," Dorit Nitzan, head of the WHO office in Serbia,
recent study by Serbian NGO Doctors Against Corruption shows that
Serbia allocates 11 percent of its GDP to healthcare – more than
Croatia (8 percent), Bulgaria (7 percent) or Romania (5 percent).
But the results are among the worst in the region, the organisation said.
surveys show the public considers healthcare, together with political
parties, to be the most corrupt institutions in Serbia, and the 2012
European Health Consumer Index (EHCI) ranks Serbia last in the quality
the 10-year period, Serbia spent over 20 billion euros on health
reforms but the money has not shown the desired progress. Nobody is
satisfied with the health reform, neither the patients nor the
doctors," Drasko Karadjinovic, co-ordinator of Doctors Against
Corruption, told SETimes.
of integrated healthcare and corruption are key factors in the poor
performance, the study said. It listed the separation of private,
public and military healthcare as an example, which does not allow for
the transfer of patients or funds.
had over 40 EU-funded projects worth 140 million euros and none of the
priorities have been met. We need a total systemic change and a
consistent struggle against the corruption stemming from party
interests," Karadjinovic said.
began healthcare reform in 2002; it addressed structural and functional
issues, including human resources and organisation of services.
reform also sought to restore the role of, and public trust in, primary
care, while enhancing primary care practitioners' capacity to deal with
a higher proportion of health issues.
Djukic, state secretary at the ministry of health, blamed the financial
crisis and previous governments for the poor state of affairs, but said
the new ministry is ready to solve any of the problems.
can hardly say we do not do anything. In 2011, the ministry planned to
spend only 670 million dinars on healthcare from the state budget, but
we ended up spending over 20 billion dinars," Djukic told SETimes.
said in the past two years, Serbia has taken a huge step forward in
improving health care, especially in covering marginalised groups such
as the Roma.
explained the system has four pillars which have not improved equally
-- standards and regulations, resource generation such as education and
modern technologies, financing and service delivery to patients.
Of the four, financing remains the most problematic pillar.
is one of the countries that has great standards, inherited from the
former Yugoslavia. ... the laws are perfect, but the rules of
procedures and implementation are obscure. ... It is in the process of
improving, but it is not yet completed," Nitzan said.