Asylum seekers are entitled to primary health care under the Law on Asylum. In practice, access to health care can be complicated. A limited amount of secondary health care is supported on a case by case basis by DRC. More information below.
*** It is important to note that the division between primary and secondary health care in Bosnia and Herzegovina is quite different to many other countries. In Bosnia and Herzegovina health care services provided in a category of institution called ‘Dom zdravlja’ are generally considered to be primary health care services and health care services which take place in a hospital are generally considered secondary or tertiary health care services. As such, a number of services which might be considered as primary health care elsewhere, are considered as secondary health care in Bosnia and Herzegovina – child birth is one particular example of this.
Health Care at Reception Centres
Access to health care is simpler for asylum seekers residing in one of the reception centres in BiH. In each of these locations, doctors are either on site or make regular visits to provide check-ups and make referrals to local health care centres for primary health care services when needed. A limited amount of secondary health care is supported on a case by case basis by DRC.
Health Care outside of Reception Centres
For asylum seekers residing outside of one of the reception centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, access to primary health care is more complicated. According to law, you first need a valid Asylum Seeker Card (the ‘yellow card’) and you need to go to the public health centre in Trnovo municipality, following confirmation of an appointment by Sector for Asylum of the Ministry of Security. If you have no valid Asylum Seeker Card, the law does not provide for primary health care, though emergency health care should be provided if needed.
Depending on where you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can contact UNHCR, Vaša Prava (UNHCR’s free legal aid partner), DRC, or BHWI for information and advice regarding your right to access health care.