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Milan Marković, General Manager, Smurfit Kappa Belgrade

Returning Treated Water to the Danube

Here Milan Marković, General Manager of Smurfit Kappa Belgrade, shares his insights about the company’s legacy and innovative strides in environmental protection Founded in 1921...

Bogdan Gavrilović, Managing Director, WTO Serbia

Transport and Logistics Without Borders

World Transport Overseas is one of the fastest-growing logistics companies in Eastern Europe, with branches in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia,...

Vesna Jovanović, Director, EurologSystem

Connecting Italy and Serbia by Rail

EurologSystem, which is set to commemorate two decades of successful operations in 2025, transports an average of 500,000 tons of goods annually, primarily agricultural...

Branko Milikić, Business Development Director at Halcom Serbia

Innovations in Digital Banking

Halcom is a leader in the domain of digital banking and banking solutions. This company has spent 30 years enabling the safe and efficient...

Dragana Ašić Ratkovac, Business Manager Consulting & Tax Advisor at Unija Consulting d.o.o. Beograd

Our View of the Tax World and What’s Important

The success of companies in today’s world depends, among other things, on the ability to adapt to constant amendments to tax laws. My experience...

Dr Jasmina Knežević, Founder And Director Of Bel Medic

Only Intelligent And Creative People Cooperating Will Save Humanity

We are not a rich, well-organised country with a practise of planning, but our public healthcare sector reorganised itself quickly and successfully. However, the opportunity to maximise the resources of both the private and state sectors was not utilised.

The pandemic has taught humanity a lesson. It has shown that nobody is privileged and that we can only survive if we seek a solution jointly. We thought until recently that there is no health without a lot of money and a successful economy, but now we see that there is no economic progress and survival without healthy people, healthy nature and biological equilibrium.

It was a year ago that the novel coronavirus found us with over 111,000 employees in the public health sector and about 17,000 in the private sector (2018). This is better than the average in the region and worse than the average in the EU, especially in terms of the number of mid-level medical staff, where we have 628 per 100,000 inhabitants and the EU has 1,441.

Over 55% of our doctors are aged over 50. We have a shortage of specialists, especially anaesthesiologists, intensive care specialists and emergency medicine specialists, as well as a major shortage of nurses.

Our hospitals are mostly housed in old and unsuitable facilities, while many new ones have central heating and cooling systems that aren’t adequate for such an infectious virus.

Although the initial outbreak of the pandemic was a terrible blow to the healthcare system, which didn’t even have basic protective equipment for employees, and although individuals and the crisis staff didn’t handle themselves in the best way, with their contradictory statements, now, a year on, we can be satisfied with how we’ve done.

Although it is small in terms of capacity, in terms of efficiency private healthcare system can be an excellent complement to serbia’s state health system

We are not a rich, well-organised country with a practise of planning, but our public healthcare sector reorganised itself quickly and successfully.

Clinical Hospital Centres have been converted into COVID Hospitals, and two new large-capacity COVID Hospitals were constructed in just four months. Public hospitals, as the only places were COVID-positive patients could be treated, were excellently supplied with all relevant treatments for severe forms of COVID, which were provided according to world protocols. Serbia has procured vaccines from all manufacturers and citizens are able to choose, which is a privilege compared to the rest of the world.

In term of what could have been better, I would single out the PCR test, which the private sector was unable to conduct. This resulted in the disease spreading more, because contacts and asymptomatic patients were not tested, rather only those with a temperature exceeding 38°C.

This situation eased with the appearance of a reliable antigen test that could also be done privately. Secondly, the private sector wasn’t adequately included in handling the pandemic. Although it is small in terms of capacity, in terms of efficiency private healthcare system it can be an excellent complement to Serbia’s state health system. A small number of courageous, better-organised private institutions got to grips with the outpatient treatment of COVID-positive patients, and provided a great contribution to the sense of security and accessibility to patients. There was no legal regulating of hospital treatment in the private sector.

Thirdly, there was no reason for COVID-negative patients – at the expense of the Fund – not to undergo operations and diagnostic procedures in the private sector that could not be performed in clinical centres, because they were converted to COVID hospitals. Waiting lists were huge for hip an knee replacements, coronary angiography procedures, stent implantations, tumour surgeries, scanners and magnetic resonance imaging. If that had been permitted, many chronically ill and oncology patients would have received solutions.

The COVID pandemic is still continuing, many lives have been lost, the economy has ground to a halt. Nobody knows how long this will last. All that’s left for us to do is to learn quickly, research new medicines and vaccines, and strive to be faster and wiser than the virus. It is absolutely clear that we should maximally utilise the resources of both the private and public sectors. More than anything that’s come before, this novel coronavirus warns us that trust and cooperation among all intelligent and creative people is the only way for humanity to survive.

By Emmanuel B. Nyirinkindi, IFC's Vice President of Cross-Cutting Solutions

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants into the Danube. The landfill,...

Comment by Zoran Panovic

Growth Plan

Late April saw the European Parliament give the green light to the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, with the Council of the European...

Dr Aleksandar Mitić, Institute for International Politics and Economy

Cooperation with China Raised to the Highest Level in Europe

Both Germany and France desire close cooperation with China, so any criticism of Serbia’s close relations with China is an example of double standards I...

Slobodan Zečević Ph.D, Institute for European Studies

Delicate Seesaw

France and Germany have contrasting views on cooperation with China, but the internal reasons for such views don’t automatically relate to their stance regarding...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

French Firms Suez and Vinci to Oversee Wastewater Treatment in Belgrade

The Serbian government has enlisted French companies Suez International SAS and Vinci Construction Grands Projets for the design, construction,...

Dušan Živković Named New CEO of Elektroprivreda Srbije

Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has announced the appointment of Dušan Živković as its new Chief Executive Officer, following a decision...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants...

German Voters Dominate, Malta Least Represented in Upcoming European Parliament Elections

As the 2024 European Parliament elections draw near, set to take place from 6 to 9 June, Eurostat has...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants...

German Voters Dominate, Malta Least Represented in Upcoming European Parliament Elections

As the 2024 European Parliament elections draw near, set to take place from 6 to 9 June, Eurostat has...
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