Serbia: assessing health-system capacity to manage sudden large influxes of migrants

Joint report on a mission of the Ministry of Health of Serbia and the WHO Regional Office for Europe with the collaboration of the International Organization for Migration

Recent large influxes of migrants into southern Serbia from Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
have challenged the capacity of the Serbian health system to respond rapidly and effectively. Serbia is coping well with
the migrant influx, a situation that will likely continue for the foreseeable future. At the moment, most migrants entering
Serbia intend to travel onwards to Hungary and, ultimately, to other European Union countries, and therefore remain
in Serbia for only a few days. Currently migrant processing is managed humanely and efficiently. Only a minority of
migrants enter asylum centres, where they receive a medical examination and any treatment they need. However,
Serbia is vulnerable to changes in entry and exit flows and to any increase in the number remaining in the country,
whatever the reason. A joint assessment between the Ministry of Health of Serbia and the WHO Regional Office for
Europe in June 2015, supplemented by an expert field assessment mission in August 2015, has indicated a need for
contingency planning for the further development of both local and national health policies to respond to any future
large influx of people in transit.

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