Letter: Serbia suffers under medicines shortage

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Sir: Listening to an interview on the BBC World Service of a World Health Organisation doctor discussing the acute problems following the breakdown of primary health care in former Yugoslavia (that is, in the areas of Serbia, Bosnia and Krajina), I was appalled that this doctor completely missed the main cause of the problem. International sanctions prevent Serbia from buying medicines it does not produce.

Those that are available on a prescription basis cannot be purchased by the general populace, who, on average, have an income of pounds 3 a month. The inability of people to afford, for instance, tablets to control high blood pressure, or insulin to control diabetes, rapidly leads to much more serious conditions, putting further strain on the hospitals.

Our survival in Krajina and Baranja is, in the main, dependent upon the generosity of the Belgian Unprofor battalion stationed here. The cynical punishment of thousands of elderly people who invariably suffer most from the UN sanctions should also be investigated by its war crimes commission.

Yours sincerely,


Sombor, Serbia