Medical professionals trained in refugee and migrant health in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

WHO/Margarita Spasenovska

Dr Suzana Manevska, Head of the Sector for preventive health care, Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, presenting the Action Plan on health and migration.

WHO/Europe, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, trained over 150 medical professionals and Red Cross volunteers in preparing and responding to the health needs of refugees and migrants at three 1-day workshops in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Between 3000 and 7000 people currently enter the country daily.

The workshops included group work and discussions about the situation in the country and the public health challenges it presents, such as hospital preparedness and the need for regular information updates.

A representative of the WHO Collaborating Centre, the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development, gave a lecture on key public health aspects and on the procedures for preparing for sudden influxes of refugees and migrants within the current regional context. A representative of the Ministry of Health presented a plan for the country's health response under various scenarios and for addressing the key aspects of communicable diseases in the current crisis, including WHO recommendations.

The participants then debated future steps for strengthening the response of the health sector in the different scenarios described in the action plan presented by the Ministry of Health.

The participants included health professionals from emergency medical services, hospitals, health centres and public health centres and from the Red Cross, as well as non–health actors from the Crisis Management Centre and local governments.

The workshops were organized for health workers in the southern part of the country (Gevgelija, Kavadarci, Negotino and Valandovo in Gevgelija region) and in the northern part (Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka in Kumanovo region).

Daily arrivals to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is facing an increasing influx of refugees and migrants seeking to cross the country to reach western Europe. At the moment, between 3000 and 7000 people are entering the country daily. The main route of transit is from the southern border with Greece to the northern border with Serbia. A registration transit centre has been established in the south near the border with Greece, where Red Cross medical teams provide first aid to the refugees and migrants. The Government has declared a state of emergency in the southern and northern parts of the country.

Since large numbers of refugees and migrants started to arrive in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, WHO/Europe has provided continuous technical support to the Ministry of Health and assists health authorities in preparing and responding to public health needs.