By Capt. Russell Craig
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001
Oct. 29, the Communicable Disease Surveillance
Working Group (CDSWG) achieved a new success; for the first time
since 1991 all the key representatives for Epidemiology in Bosnia
and Herzegovina (BiH) met together in one room.
Camp Butmir - As reported in the SFOR INFORMER (issue
115) the CDSWG was initiated by SFOR earlier this year and is
concerned with epidemiological studies, that is the collection
and analysis of data on diseases within BiH.
"The theatre surgeon saw that there was no reporting system
so there was no bigger picture on the communicable diseases
in the whole of BiH," explained American Maj. Carl Hoover,
a theatre preventative medical officer.
This is a problem as the German Dr. Col. Rolf Hanke, CJMED, neatly
encapsulated for the meeting: "Diseases do not stop at the
border of countries. Conflicts between parties and states are
not relevant when it comes to diseases."
During the meeting Dr. Semra Cavaljuga, the SFOR epidemiological
consultant, outlined the aims and methods of the group: to decrease
deaths through the control and prevention of such diseases.
This will be achieved by ensuring that information on communicable
diseases is passed to and from grass roots (the physicians) and
state level institutions.
Hoover described the end state vision as "to come to a point
where a national level communicable disease surveillance program
The meeting was not only a step forwards in battling diseases,
it also represented a triumph in communication and mutual understanding.
This was because the representatives consisted of not only the
two Entities (Federation and Republika Srpska) and Brcko District
but also experts from canton level too.
Hoover explained that "in the beginning the different groups
wouldn't even talk to each other when in the same room. Now a
few meetings on they are developing understanding and a dialogue."
Thus the CDSWG is not only fighting diseases it is also part of
the cure for BiH.
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