The European Union donated medical equipment worth 355,000 euros to health institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes 253 refrigerators and cooling devices, as well as spare equipment for refrigerators, portable devices for vaccines, ice packs and cold rooms. This high-quality equipment will be used for the storage of vaccines against COVID-19 as well as other vaccines in order to preserve their quality and effectiveness.
Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler officially handed over the equipment to the Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ankica Gudeljević, today in Sarajevo. The equipment will further improve the capacities of the cold chain of healthcare system and enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to be ready to respond to all potential challenges in the field of immunization.
“The pandemic is not over, the number of infected people is increasing and we must all remain vigilant. The European Union has been with Bosnia and Herzegovina since the first days of the pandemic, and so far we have provided 20 million euros for the procurement of medical equipment and vaccines. The EU continues to provide support to the health sector in BiH, we are allocating an additional 10 million euros for activities related to prevention and primary health care programs in BiH“, said Ambassador Sattler.
Minister Ankica Gudeljević emphasized that the fact that half a billion people do not have safe access to medicines due to the lack of cooling devices makes this delivery even more important. “Although at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic, the greatest challenges were linked with the procurement of vaccines, low and middle-income countries began to face the challenge of their distribution and storage. The weak link of this initiative became apparent very quickly, in terms of insufficient capacity or even the lack of available cold chain systems,” underscored Gudeljević.
The Head of the UNICEF representative office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rownak Khan, also attended the handover ceremony. “Today’s donation from the EU will contribute to strengthening the capacity of the cold chain of vaccines in BiH and is a clear sign of the quality cooperation between international organizations in BiH with the competent health institutions“, said Khan.
The equipment was procured through the EU funded project EU4Health worth 13.7 million euros, which enables the procurement of vaccines, equipment and materials for immunization, cold chain equipment and vehicles for the transport of vaccines. The project is part of the overall EU support to BiH for crisis mitigation and recovery from the pandemic in the health and economic sector, for which the EU has allocated over 95 million euros.