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Interview

Visit By Director Of FBIH Institute Of Public Health Davor Pehar, 12.11.2015.

 

INTERVIEW: DAVOR PEHAR, DIRECTOR OF FBIH INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH

 

 

Interviewed by: Tarik MOČEVIĆ

SARAJEVO, November 13 (ONASA) – Director of the Institute of Public Health of the Federation of BiH (FBiH) Davor Pehar spoke in an interview, during a visit to the ONASA Agency, about the strategic goals of the Institute, plans in case of a large influx of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, research in the field of public health …

ONASA: What are the strategic goals of the FBiH Institute of Public Health?

PEHAR: The strategic objectives of the Public Health Institute of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to strengthening the capacity and leadership role by improving core functions, continuous proactive action to decision-makers and policy, but also the profession and the public. Regarding legal obligations, our institution in order to improve the monitoring, promotional and preventive, educational and professional referral activities. It is important to strengthen and develop human resources and increase the capacity of the Institute, in order for our profession, but also the public, to recognize us as the adequate institution in the field of public health.

ONASA: Is the fear of parents legitimate about the contraindications of vaccination of children, and is the vaccination required and what kind of sanctions can possibly be implemented for parents whose children are not regularly vaccinated?

PEHAR: The fear is unfounded, because there is no scientific evidence that vaccination is associated with any arduous and serious outcomes. The fear of parents is related to the possible described and known, post-vaccination reactions, but also for the assumed and unproven – deaths, autism and the like. Vaccination of children in our country is obliged according to the Immunization programs implementation for which FBiH Ministry of Health, on the proposal of the Department of Public Health, each year issues an order. For not responding to the regular vaccination of children, under the protection of the population from infectious diseases FBiH, a fine is planned, but it is rarely implemented in practice.

ONASA: Do you plan to purchase a snake serum, due to the fact that some health centers did not have sufficient quantities, who tests this serum?

PEHAR: Supply of the antiviperinuma serum or serum against snake venom, is not within the competence of the Institute, but the cantonal health facilities.

ONASA: Does the Institute have the influence and how much on the formation of essential drug lists in the cantons?

PEHAR: We do not have any direct impact on the formation of essential drug lists, not at the FBiH, nor at the cantonal level.

ONASA: Do health institutions in BiH have a sufficient number of medicines for patients suffering from severe disease (eg, cancer, AIDS …)?

PEHAR: Number of drugs is sufficient, except for occasional shortages caused by the tender procurement procedure.

ONASA: BiH is in the top of the list of countries in which there is the largest consumption of tobacco products. Lately, more and more people consume hookah. What is the Institute doing to prevent these vices, and is the hookah equally harmful as other tobacco products?

PEHAR: Department of Public Health is, in accordance with its law-defined functions, involved in tobacco control activities through participation in the development of relevant strategic and legal documents. These are, among other things, monitoring of smoking habits and trends in smoking-caused illnesses and causes of death, as well as education and health promotion. Also, through the health statistics system, the Department follows the trends of diseases related to smoking and in cooperation with county public health institutes each year prepares a report on the health status of the population that is later adopted by the FBiH Parliament. Every three to five years our Institution performs periodic population surveys to monitor the trends of smoking habits in the population, in order to assess the effectiveness of interventions. All research results are publicly presented in collaboration with the FBiH Ministry of Health, with recommendations for defining an adequate system of intervention in tobacco control.
When it comes to consumption of hookah, currently there is the opinion that hookah is harmless and that it uses only teas. However, in preparing the hookah they often use special types of tobacco, usually dark flavored tobacco is mixed with honey, tea with different flavors of dried fruit, but instead of water alcohol can be used. Another problem may be adding narcotic substances such as marijuana and hashish, which is done in some countries. Consumption of hookah should be legally defined and controlled just like the consumption of other tobacco products.

ONASA: In Zenica, recently a Center for Breastfeeding was opened. Does the Institute plan to launch the opening of such centers in smaller BiH cities?

PEHAR: Department of Public Health, together with the FBiH Ministry of Health, FBiH Ministry of Education, UNICEF and other partners, participated in the implementation of the activities envisaged by the adopted strategies and policies to promote early growth and development of children in the FBiH, and adopting policies to improve children’s nutrition in FBiH. We are active partners in advocating and encouraging all activities that contribute to improving the nutrition of children, with particular emphasis on breastfeeding, and natural nutrition for children. Even though opening centers for breastfeeding is not in our jurisdiction, our competence is providing technical and methodological assistance and cooperation in joint promotional and prevention activities. The centers represent targets through which support to breast-feeding is provided and the Institute supports the plan for their massive openings.

ONASA: Does the Institute have a plan in case of entry of a large number of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

PEHAR: For now we do not have a plan in case of a large influx of refugees in the FBiH, but the FBiH Ministry of Health appointed coordinator for public-health issues from the Institute prim. Dr. Zeljko Ler.

ONASA: How much does the FBiH invest in research in the field of public health?

PEHAR: Activities such as regular health-statistical surveys, which are an integral part of health care professionals at all levels of health care, are part of the existing budget of the health sector. As for the number of population studies, which, together with statistics, the basis of the relevant decisions of health policies and strategies, the Department carried out with the financial assistance of international organizations with which it has a very successful long-term cooperation. I would particularly highlight the cooperation with the WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, without whose financial assistance it would not be possible to realize the many studies that allow comparability of BiH with countries in the region.

ONASA: What concrete steps are undertaken by the Institute when it comes to education of personnel?

PEHAR: According to the Law on Health Care of FBiH and the Rulebook on specializations and sub-specializations of medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, engineers Medical Biochemistry, the Department is required to conduct training of interns and residents. Also, in accordance with the Regulations on the continuing professional education in health care management, Office conducts training of health workers and associates, and other professionals employed in the health sector. The program is conducted on three levels, and the goal is to get specialized knowledge of health management, oriented to modern management methods and interdisciplinary approach to complex system as a health institution. (end)