News

Saving lives: UNFPA at service on the Balkan refugee migrant route

14 April 2016

“In the past two month we saved the lives of two newborns thanks to the medical equipment that UNFPA provided to the Hospital in Gevgelija, says Dr. Ventci Chalkov, the leading gynecologist in the region covering a population of 50.000 people and additionally providing free of charge services to the refugee/migrant women transiting the route.

SAVING LIVES

Gevgelija, April 2016; The city of Gevgelija became notable in the international press during the summer of 2015 as an entry point from Greece towards north for the migrants and refugees traveling the so called Balkan route.  More than half a million (500.000) refugees and migrant transited trough the transit center “Vinojug” in Gevgelija between October 2015 and the first months of this year. As an answer to the growing needs of the people transiting, the country’s Ministry of Health decided to provide free of charge gynecology services for the refugee and migrant women in need.  UNFPA supported this initiative by providing medical equipment and SRH kits, all in order to strengthen the capacity of the city hospital in Gevgelija, as well as the city hospital in Kumanovo, which is located on the exit point of this country’s transit route.
At the end on 2015 UNFPA donated medical equipment, two vehicles - mobile gynecological clinics, as well as a large quantity of SRH kits to the Ministry of Health and immediately assisted the distribution to the hospitals in Gevgelija and Kumanovo.

Dr. Chalkov told us that the donated equipment was immediately put in use and in the past two months (February and March), two newborn lives were saved, they performed 6 deliveries and more than 100 pregnant and women in reproductive health have received medical care.

“It was end of February and we had a delivery from refugee women coming from Syria. All vital signs after the birth were great, however suddenly the Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration (APGAR) test of the newborn fell from scale 9 to 2 and immediately I used the pulse-oximeter and the result told us that the baby had only heart reaction with a decreased oxidation. This on time reaction would not be possible if we didn’t have the equipment that UNFPA provided, Dr. Chalkov said.”

After couple of days Dr. Chalkov and his team had the same intervention and this time they rescued the live of newborn delivered by a local citizen. 
The hospital in Gevgelija is a vital gynecological center in the region covering total of 4 Municipalities with a population of 50.000 inhabitants. It is located on the existing Balkan migrant/refugee route. Also, the city and its vicinity are often visited during the summer and winter and due to its proximity to the border it is a very frequent transit destination.