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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

7. Health and Well-Being

Last update: 22 February 2024

Modern ways of life, social networks, the pandemic and the lack of social awareness have led to the fact that the health, well-being, social and health security, and especially the mental health of young people in BiH are increasingly endangered. The absence of a competent ministry at the state level to regulate these issues, the absence of national strategies, laws and a broad administration, make it difficult to fully and adequately address this issue.

Young people in BiH face numerous risks in this field, the most intense of which are: the effects of war and war narratives, worsening living conditions, increased abuse of psychoactive substances, alcohol and tobacco products, poor mental health (with an increased suicide rate), poor physical health caused by not playing sports, peer violence, lack of information about sexual reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, poor quality nutrition and the consequences of the pandemic etc. Among certain groups in society, a significant number of young people without health insurance is noticeable.

BiH society tries to avoid challenges by learning certain lessons, i.e. adopting healthy models of behavior. A certain level of responsibility also rests with the media, which needs to create codes and adopt new norms of behavior when it comes to reporting news about suicides, which unfortunately are increasing among young people in BiH.

There is no system of adequate and timely information for young people in BiH. It is necessary to provide information that is relevant, reliable, available, timely, complete and understandable. It is necessary to provide young people with access to information and professional counseling in an organized, high-quality and standardized manner in order to become significant participants in the improvement of both their own health and the health of the community. In addition, the so-called "friendly approach" to young people should be in place in the provision of health and non-health services that are available, accessible, confidential, free, high quality, acceptable and gender sensitive. Health professionals are not sufficiently sensitized to work with the youth population, because, in general, this population is considered "healthy". For this reason, attention in primary health care institutions is mostly devoted to the working population and the elderly.

Youth health issues should be addressed in a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral way at all levels - from state and entity to cantonal and local levels, but the greatest immediate benefit is achieved by solving issues in the local community, delegating responsibility, authority and resources, and cooperation between the governmental and non-governmental sectors. Achieving better health for young people is possible through the active participation of all actors in society in order to change the conditions that significantly affect the relationship between health and illness. The future health potential of young people will depend on the pro-activity of all participants in the reform and the division of responsibility for achieving the goals.