ALAC’s approach to COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Provide legal assistance to citizens, as well as work with other civil society organisations and government to enhance Bosnia and Herzegovina’s COVID-19 response. This is with a view to improve the country’s social accountability mechanisms.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) is dedicated to provide legal assistance to all citizens. In 2020, the ALAC in Bosnia has received numerous cases related to COVID-19, including some on health. The ALAC is also working with government and other civil society organisations to effectively monitor resources destined to COVID-19 efforts.
As of 25 June 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina has 3676 cases confirmed, 2297people have recovered, and there have been 173 deaths.
The country has introduced the following measures: cancelation of mass gatherings, sport activities, education and general promotion of social distancing, as well as the progressive measures, such as is the case with surveillance at points of entry, active detection and isolation. They have helped slow the spread of infection, though its further spread-out is continuing, with the city of Tuzla preparing to declare a second epidemic following a steep rise in cases.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a lower middle income country with Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US$ 1,270 . The health system and other relevant sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, do not have capacities to respond to all needs resulting from COVID-19 infection. Thus, in April 2020, Bosnia requested international assistance from NATO and IMF. On 20th April, the IMF Executive Board Approves US$361 Million in Emergency Support to Bosnia and Herzegovina to address the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Transparency international in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) filed criminal charges to the District Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka against the management of the Public Health Institute of the Republic of Srpska due to the controversial procurements of the medical equipment from the unqualified bidders.
- Monitor COVID-19 related funds: The ALAC and TI Bosnia are joining other civil society organisations in their efforts to monitor the governments’ expenditure of the IMF funding. This is to ensure that the money goes where it is needed the most and no resources are wasted due to corruption.