A step towards better care for expectant mothers in Bosnia

Some legislative bodies in Bosnia are moving to rectify the uneven availability of essential medical procedures for pregnant women with trombophilia -- a condition that usually results in miscarriage. 

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
A step towards better care for expectant mothers in Bosnia - NewsMavens
Pregnant woman. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Trombophilia leads to miscarriage or stillbirth in 80% of cases. The chances of carrying to term and having a healthy baby are significantly increased if the condition is detected and treated in time. However, in Bosnia, the availability of both testing and medications depend entirely on where you live, since the country has no central healthcare system or authority.

The cost of the test (150 euro) is high for a country where the average salary is around 440 euro per month. But the treatment is an even bigger financial burden. The cost can be as much as 5,500 euro -- the equivalent of the average yearly salary in Bosnia -- over the course of the pregnancy.

For some women, this is virtually impossible to afford, so they sometimes resort to lowering the doses, thus increasing the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

Out of the 12 separate public health insurance systems in Bosnia, only three fully cover the costs of treatment for pregnant women with trombophilia.

After a passionate appeal from Lana Jonjić, a woman from Zenica, the cantonal assembly decided to do something about it. 

"I can't believe that someone in this absurd system decided that a pregnant woman is worth more in Sarajevo than in Zenica or Tuzla. I decided to be the voice of all those who fight for their unborn babies. Every future mother has to have the same rights," Jonjić said.

Currently, two cantonal assemblies are looking to include trombophilia treatments in their mandatory health coverage. If the initiatives pass, it will be a significant step in the right direction, especially since the number of trombophilia sufferers is on the rise.

health, family, women's issues

Details from the story:

  • Healthcare in Bosnia is divided between its administrative units and largely depends on the financial stability of each separate canton.
  • In the entity of Republika Srpska, treatment costs are covered by health insurance. But in the Federation of BiH, the other entity, the ten cantons each have their own rules.
  • In some cantons, like Sarajevo, the treatment is covered, but testing coverage depends on the availability of reagents.
  • In most cantons, there is no coverage for either. 
  • The MPs in the Zenica-Doboj and Tuzla cantonal assemblies have recently initiated a change in the "essential lists" of medicaments in order to provide the same coverage for pregnant women with trombophilia.
  • Even if the initiative passes, this still leaves many cantons where insurance won't cover the treatment. 
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