Podgorica, 21 December 2016 – The health system of Montenegro does not have enough paediatricians, health personnel or related health professionals dealing with children, and this is a problem that should be addressed in the future, it was concluded at a panel discussion held on Wednesday in the EU Info Centre within the framework of the Health Up project.

The Director of Podgorica’s Primary Healthcare Centre, Nebojša Kavarić, said that some of the causes of this problem are demographic trends in Montenegro, primarily the fact that more than half of the population is concentrated in the capital city, and then the age structure of paediatricians, more than half of whom are older than 55 years.

Podgorica’s Primary Healthcare Centre provides services for 50,000 children, and each paediatrician has on average over 2,000 regular registered patients.

According to Kavarić, when it comes to children’s healthcare, what the public healthcare system lacks most are educators, social workers, physiotherapists, special educational needs professionals, oligophrenologists and speech therapists.

Snežana Mijušković of the Office of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms said that, in addition to the lack of specialists, parents complain of long waiting times for scheduled appointments, the denial of various medical treatments that are needed for children with disabilities, inadequate access to and availability of health facilities, inadequate medical treatment, inability to get medical expenses reimbursed, and the like. She pointed out that conditions for high-quality dental care for children with developmental disabilities are not in place over the whole territory of Montenegro.

The debate entitled “Lack of Doctors for Children in the Public Health System” was held within the HealthUp project, supported by the European Union, which aims to strengthen partnership dialogue and cooperation between the governmental and non-governmental sectors in the field of healthcare. The goal of the two-year programme, which will be implemented by the NGO Roditelji, the Montenegrin Association against AIDS – CAZAS and the SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence, Podgorica, is to further reinforce and strengthen civil society organisations so that the healthcare system is more efficient and more focused on the needs of patients.

The contents of this news item are the sole responsibility of the EU Info Centre and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.