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USAID Serbia Mission Director Brooke Isham, together with the Ministry of Health, UNDP, WHO and USAID’s E-Health Project officials, visited the premises of the Immunization Clinic, Nutrition Counselling Unit and the main conference room at the Public Health Institute (PHI) of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”. These spaces have been refurbished and equipped with medical and IT equipment to facilitate the work of experts from the “Batut” national institute on disease prevention and diagnostics, as well as their communication with citizens on important public health issues.

Speaking about the $127,000 USAID donation to Batut PHI, the institute’s Director Dr Verica Jovanović said: “Thanks to the needs which were identified and this donation, the working conditions and equipment for several organizational units of the Institute, where services and communication were provided, have been improved. We are able to provide counselling in medical nutritional therapy and prevention on a wider scale and improve the provision of services in the Immunization Outpatient Clinic. Also, through the newly equipped space, we improved the delivery of various types of educational, training and expert meetings.”

In addition to the refurbished and equipped “Batut” premises, three fully equipped ambulances, with a value of $170,000, were handed over today to the directors of the Primary Health Care Centers of Smederevo, Požarevac and Petrovac na Mlavi. The ambulances will help ensure that citizens in these towns can be transported to hospitals and receive urgent medical assistance on time.

“Since the beginning of 2020, the United States of America, primarily through USAID, has given more than 12 million USD to support Serbia in the fight against the pandemic. I am glad that the equipment, ambulances and the Immunization Department that we saw today will also help health workers in Serbia to be better prepared to deal with everyday health challenges,” said Brooke Isham, USAID Mission Director in Serbia.

“I especially want to thank the American people for the great help that has arrived to Serbia. We achieved excellent results in the fight against the pandemic thanks to the fact that the Government of Serbia fully supported the health system. This pandemic has also taught us that people are the most important part of the system, and that is why we have invested in ensuring that everyone receives the health services they need, so that no one is left behind,” said Prof. Dr. Ferenc Vicko, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health.

In partnership with USAID, UNDP is assisting Serbia to fully recover from the COVID-19 crisis and to become better prepared for similar challenges in the future. While we are hopefully nearing the end of this pandemic, we need to continue building the resilience of national health care systems, strengthening the infrastructure and supporting our public health experts in their work”, said Yakup Beris UNDP Serbia Resident Representative.

This event showcased the wider support of the American people for the Serbian healthcare system.

“Through the response to COVID-19, we have recognized the power of people to deliver science-based interventions that respond to population needs where they are needed most – in the community. In the current environment of constant crisis, which should be accepted as the new normal, we expect these interventions to have a domino effect, not only on the response to COVID-19, but also on other health challenges, by empowering people and strengthening the resilience of the system”, emphasized Dr. Fabio Scano, representative of the World Health Organization in Serbia.

“We are honoured to work with an institution that has such a rich history,” said Steve Ollis, programme director of USAID’s E-Health project, adding, “We are pleased to build on that foundation by transforming the use of health data in support of a stronger health care system for everyone in Serbia.”

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Donations to “Batut” PHI and to three Primary Health Care Centres in Serbia – are part of the “Together against COVID” project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The “Batut” national institute also received assistance within the USAID-funded “COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out” project implemented by the World Health Organization and the “E-Health” project implemented by the John Snow Research and Training Institute, Inc. (JSI). All projects are realized in partnership with the Government of Serbia, which has identified investments to help strengthen healthcare and research facilities as priority areas for support.

Foto: UNDP Serbia

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