Timely and relevant: Supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina´s efforts in the COVID-19 crisis

The Challenge Fund project “Improving the Approach of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Emergency Preparedness and Response” implemented by the company EGO Zlín brings more than just innovation- launched just a few weeks before the first cases of COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the project offers a timely and relevant response to the pandemic due to its focus on solutions and know-how transfer in the area of contagious diseases.

Tackling pandemics requires a systemic solution in all steps, ranging from the identification of patients with the disease diagnosed to their safe transportation and following hospitalisation. As part of our project, we offered an option to try an equipment that is used by the specialised “bio-hazard” units in the Czech Republic that are in charge of the transport of highly contagious patients to selected hospitals in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This equipment is essential to ensure the safety of the healthcare worker”, says Soňa Zacharová from EGO Zlín.

On Friday, 24th July 2020, the project entered its second phase, which was marked by the delivery of the first pilot units of the isolation transport equipment to the Clinical Center in Sarajevo. The handover was attended by Ms Jana Hlavsová, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Bosnia and Herzegovina, local UNDP representatives as well as the Director of Internal Medicine Prof. Dr. Senije Rašić and the Head of Clinic for Infectious Diseases Dr. Rusmir Baljić. The second handover to the Clinical Center in Banja Luka is expected to follow soon.

I am delighted that this project is being implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It offers long-term positive effects and has become even more relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened”, commented Ambassador Hlavsová, “I hope that the equipment for the Clinical Centers in Sarajevo and Banja Luka will improve their capacities. The Czech company EGO Zlín, which is implementing the project, has lots of experience from various countries in the world, which Bosnia and Herzegovina can learn from.” 

The Czech company EGO Zlín has been working in the development and production of biological protection equipment for almost 30 years. “During the epidemics of Ebola in Africa, we have learned to adapt our production capacities with regards to the increased demand. However, COVID-19 proved to be truly challenging. Even if we had increased production by 100%, we would have never managed to cover the demands from all over the world for the relevant equipment that our company develops. Currently, the situation has stabilised and we can offer all necessary equipment to our clients in an acceptable timeframe”, says Ms Zacharová about the COVID-19 crisis, “From the reaction of our clients, we see the change in their approach to the biological risk from “potential threat” to “actual threat”. It is necessary that countries adopt all preventive measures in the future and are not caught by surprise like during COVID-19Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently putting intensive efforts to ensure a smooth and successful approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are happy that it has accepted to place our pilot units into its equipment, which should become part of the systemic solution during any occurrence of highly contagious diseases in the country. “