Emergency Response Balkan
Target country/region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
Period: November 2018 - March 2019
Brief description: With a mobile clinic, CADUS provided basic medical care to refugees on the Balkan route, specifically in Sarajevo, and delivered over 2500 treatments.
Thousands of people fleeing the Balkan route are stranded at the EU's external border outside Croatia. They live in countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina in refugee camps or on the streets in the big cities. Repression, violence, inadequate government support and no access to medical care lead to poor living conditions. With the cold Bosnian winter soon to begin, it was clear to us that medical care for refugees was needed there.
Our detailed assessment on the ground revealed that two hotspots could be expected in the winter of 2018/2019. One was the area from Bihac to Velika Kladusa in the north and the other was in the capital Sarajevo. In consultation with several organizations, we took over the medical care there, while the north was covered by the other organizations.
Thanks to the great help of our supporters, we converted a van into a heated examination and treatment room in mid-November and sent the first team to Sarajevo.
Immediately after arrival, we were able to start work and provide basic medical care over the winter. However, it quickly became clear that there were a number of problems that went beyond our capacities and for which specialists were needed: opticians, dentists and psychologists or psychiatrists.
Thanks to good local contacts, these were soon found so that we could refer the patients. A Bosnian dentist offered us special conditions for the treatments. An optician was necessary because many of the refugees on the Balkan route regularly had their belongings destroyed or stolen by the police and border guards - not only cell phones, sleeping bags, warm clothing and shoes, but also eyeglasses, for which we procured replacements. The psychological problems that are widespread among our patients there due to the experiences of violence and flight could be treated through close cooperation with specialists from another organization.
The flexibility and mobility of our team paid off. The constantly changing political and security situation and the different locations of the refugees have led us to change our treatment location several times. Probably the biggest change came in January when we started working in a community center and a heated waiting room was available for our patients. In addition to the people on the streets and in the squats, we were also able to take care of families with children who are staying in a separate house.
By the end of the project in mid-March 2019, our teams have carried out 2625 treatments and thanks to our donors have been able to make a significant contribution to the health care of refugees in Sarajevo.