Go to main content

Strengthening health support to vulnerable people on the move

DRC provides winterisation support in Bosnia and Herzegovina responding to seasonal health needs among people who are part of mixed migration flows in the Balkans. DRC’s medical and protection staff offer support to the sick and vulnerable.


Posted on 21 Dec 2022

People arriving at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s four government-run Temporary Reception Centres are often ill and their health affected by perilous journeys. Among them are unaccompanied minors, elderly and families with small children, who are vulnerable and with limited access to medical help.  

"I was diagnosed with diabetes as a boy. Since I left Pakistan, it’s been hard to get the necessary therapy and even visiting a doctor. In some countries that I passed through it was easier, in others it was impossible, and at that time my health was very bad. My plan is to recover and gather strength, and then move on to the European Union in the spring, hoping to realise my dream of a better life," said Hasan from Pakistan who received medical treatment and support at a reception centre. 

Access to proper hygiene and treatment is a significant public health challenge among refugees, asylum-seekers and other people on the move, especially during winter when they are exposed to seasonal flu and other respiratory health conditions. DRC conducts educational workshops in the temporary reception centres to raise awareness of health and disease prevention and distribute basic hygiene kits, bottled water, and vitamins to boost immunity. 

‘Once people reach the Temporary Reception Centres, they can access hygiene products, safe drinking water and fresh meals. We see how this makes a difference after months of cold and harsh living conditions. We enhance awareness of hand hygiene to prevent the spread of seasonal flu, because people frequently touch their face, food, and surfaces, and are not aware that hands play a significant role in spreading disease,” explains DRC Medical Advisor Marko Isajlović,. 

DRC works to identify new arrivals, returnees, and others outside the formal systems, living in hard-to-reach areas and in sub-standard shelters and often in need of medical aid and winter clothing. 

“We share an abandoned house with three other families. The locals help us. They bring us food and clothes, but they don't have a lot either. My daughter was injured during the border crossing, and DRC helped by sending her to the hospital for treatment. Our son has been coughing for several days and has a fever,’ says Said Tahami, a father of four whose family fled Afghanistan three years ago. Via Greece, they came to Serbia, and arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina almost a year ago, hoping that in the spring, they would reach the European Union. 

Health education at the Asylum CentreDRC

Health education at the Asylum Centre DRC

Providing basic hygiene items and medicine.DRC

Providing basic hygiene items and medicine. DRC

22 Dec 2022
DRC applauds U.S. efforts to protect humanitarian aid from i…
20 Dec 2022
Urgent support to Mykolaiv: Safe water and house repairs bef…