90th anniversary of institutional public health in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Celebrants at the 90th anniversary public health event in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 31 October–1 November 2013, the Public Health Institute of the Republika Srpska from Banja Luka and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Sarajevo, jointly held the 90th anniversary of institutional public health.

Representing the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, Director, Division of Health Systems and Public Health, delivered a speech which was focused on the WHO/Europe commitment to continuously support Bosnia and Herzegovina in:

  • improving the health of the population;
  • reducing health inequalities (“the health divide”);
  • aligning its public health policies and strategies with Health 2020: the European policy for health and well-being; and
  • agreeing with the "European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services".

Prior to the ceremony, Dr Kluge and Mr Haris Hajrulahovic, Head, WHO Country Office, Bosnia and Herzegovina, attended a meeting of the highest health governance and coordination body in the country: the Ministerial Conference on Health, chaired by the Minister of Civil Affairs with the participation of the ministers of health and heads of departments of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and the Brcko District. At this meeting, all health authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed their strong commitment and support to work with WHO for the benefit of the population.

New project launch

Dr Kluge also used the opportunity to launch a major project which will be jointly implemented by WHO/Europe and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), under the title “Developing and advancing modern and sustainable public health strategies, capacities and services to improve population health in BIH”. Phase 1 of this project, which focuses on a public health approach to noncommunicable diseases as the major health burden in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be implemented in the period 2013-2015 with the likely extension to 2017. The project is worth slightly over US$ 5 million in total. Project implementation mechanisms were discussed with health authorities who are also planning a sub-regional conference scheduled for mid-2014.

In separate meetings with United Nations (UN) partners, including the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Head and UNICEF representatives, he was briefed about key developmental and health challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and activities in preparation of the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2015-2019.