Bosnia vs measles -- a lost cause?

Dealing with epidemics in the era of anti-vaccination propaganda is problematic for all, but in a country with twelve health ministries and no national health policy, it is nearly impossible.

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
Bosnia vs measles -- a lost cause? - NewsMavens
Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The widespread "vaccine scare" is taking its inevitable toll. Despite the current epidemic of measles which has already claimed lives in Serbia, vaccination rates remain worringly low. Bosnia is no different.

The fragmentation of the political system means there is no single state-level health authoritiy that could adequately respond to the crisis.

Some laws that regulate the fight against infectious diseases are over a decade old and not up to date with the current challenges. Meanwhile, the number of registered cases rises.

health, politics

Details from the story:

  • An epidemic of measles has already claimed 13 lives in Serbia. Over 3,000 people have been infected in the past few months. Most cases have been recorded in the south, where vaccine coverage is about 75%.
  • Last week, a measles epidemic was also declared in Istočno Sarajevo in Bosnia, with 4 confirmed cases.
  • Immunization rate in some parts of the Bosnia is far worse than in Serbia's south -- in the Federation of BiH, it averages around only 65%.
  • In the other Bosnian entity, Republika Srpska, where the health system is more centralized, the average is 85%.  
  • In the Federation of BiH, the current law on protection against infectious diseases doesn't even have a definition of epidemic, leaving the health authorities to struggle with such situation as best they can.  

Only relevant news in your inbox.

Our top picks in your inbox -- the best stories from Europe's front pages, selected by top women editors.

Google DNI
Women in news
World Editors Forum
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA
Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
Core team_
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna or Lea will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at