Maj. Pellumb Elezi
First published in
SFOR Informer#152, November 21, 2002
On Nov. 5 a group of SFOR soldiers from Camp Butmir paid
a humanitarian aid visit to the paediatric clinic ( Pedijatrijska
klinika) of Kosevo Hospital. The purpose of the visit was
to distribute gifts, and much needed supplies to the children.
The Oncology Ward at Kosevo Hospital, downtown Sarajevo, has
22 special children that are suffering from terminal cancer
and leukaemia. Each of these children has a military "sponsor"
that brings them special gifts and the priceless gift of sharing
Camp Butmir - Nov. 5 it was a cold day. The group started
at 9:15 a.m. when they left Camp Butmir by their cars. Thirty
minutes later they arrived at the Kosevo Hospital. As the
SFOR soldiers stepped out of their cars a crowd of people,
hospital's patients, doctors, nurses and visitors greeted
them. Soon both groups were smiling, laughing and shaking
hands. Base Support Battalion American Chaplain (Maj.) John
Hamilton and friends delivered several cases of milk, juices,
and boxes of pampers, anti-bacterial soap, shampoo, baby food,
cleaning supplies, etc. "These are small things, but
can make a significant difference to surviving babies. The
Canadian Military combined forces to make a Multinational
effort to deliver Humanitarian Aid and visit the children,"
Look at them, they are friends
The head-nurse Olga Stancic briefed the soldiers on the clinic.
First of all, she expressed her gratitude for their aid. "It's
a pleasure when see that in the struggle of life we have the
help of SFOR soldiers, thank you, thank you, thank you, "
There were a lot of people in the clinic and all of them were
looking at the soldiers with a great respect. The parents
of the sick children when saw the SFOR soldiers told their
children 'Vidi, oni su prijatelji' (Look at them, they are
friends). At that time, some of the soldiers walked into some
rooms and delivered a lot of dolls and toys. As SFOR soldiers
handed out them, they were greeted by handshakes and hugs.
The reaction of the kids was really fantastic. It was something
really special for them, and it was special that it was SFOR
soldiers doing it. Having seen these children the soldiers
wished to do more and more. That activity was like a small
flower that needs lots of water and sun to make it grow further
and not to dry out.
Lack of disinfecting materials
The clinic provides full time care. Patients come from all
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). "The problem for all hospitals
in BiH is that they are basically under-funded and the amount
of money coming to them is not enough to cover even 50% of
needs. As result, children and babies are suffering from and
even dying because of problems cased by lack of basic disinfecting
materials. The infection rate is several times higher than
that in any hospital in the western countries," said
Hamilton, which led the operation. "Every day, besides
the children that are hospitalised, we cure in average 18
others. But our government is not in a position to do more
and the hospital cannot get the proper funding for improving
situation," explained Stancic.
Nations of SFOR: US