"We hope that this Center
will remind us of our commonality, of the fact that, at heart, we are the same, one and all. It is true that much divides us, but our quest for good health is the tie that binds."

Mr. Hrvoje Badovinac,
Medtronic's Manager, Adriatic Region

 

 

 

 

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Balkans Ring in New Year with MICs

Communities in Serbia and Kosovo are benefiting from eight new Medical Information Centers (MICs) brought by WiRED in late November. Executive director Gary Selnow was on-site for the opening ceremonies.

 

Kosovo

Five teaching hospitals in Kosovo welcomed MICs funded by the Medtronic Foundation. Together, these MICs will serve several thousand doctors, students and medical professionals. The five facilities previously lacked libraries with up-to-date materials; now, in addition to WiRED's databases, each will have access to information from the World Health Organization's NIHARI database. Speaking at a ribbon cutting ceremony, Selnow stressed the idea that healthcare can be a global unifier.

 

"When we look at all the people joining together to provide medical information in WiRED's centers around the world, and at hundreds of thousands of people using the information provided, we begin to see how universal our concern for healthcare has become," said Selnow.

 

WiRED's work in Kosovo began in 1999, with training and research for U.S. Department of State-sponsored centers. At that time WiRED provided the only internet connection in Kosovo, which was used primarily by individuals seeking information on friends and relatives who had fled or were forced from Kosovo by the Balkan War.

 

In 2004, WiRED installed the first MIC at the University of Prishtina Medical School. On this latest visit, WiRED brought centers to the regional hospitals of Prizren, Peja, Gjakova, Gjilan and Mitrovica.

 

Serbia

The Medtronic Foundation also sponsored three new MICs at the Faculty of Medicine and the Clinical Center in Nis, and the Faculty of Medicine in Kragujevac.

 

Each center is equipped with six to ten computers, an extensive hard-drive database, and access to WiRED's Web portal.

 

WiRED has overcome many obstacles to bring healthcare information to Serbians. Work in Serbia during the presidency of Slobodan Milosevic (1989-1997) was difficult; once Milosevic was sent to the Hague for war crimes, WiRED gained easier access to the country. Between 2004-2005 WiRED installed six centers in Serbia.

 

MICs in Serbia have gained extensive media exposure. The most recent openings were covered by Serbian national and local television outlets, demonstrating the importance of the WiRED centers to both the medical community and the country as a whole.

 

Mr. Hrvoje Badovinac, Medtronic's Manager for the Adriatic Region, joined Dr. Selnow at the ribbon cutting ceremony. In his remarks, Dr. Selnow stressed a theme of unification. "We hope that this Center will remind us of our commonality, of the fact that, at heart, we are the same, one and all. It is true that much divides us, but our quest for good health is the tie that binds."

 

Mr. Zgjim Limani, a senior medical student at the University of Prishtina Medical Faculty, serves as WiRED's coordinator in Kosovo. Mr. Milan Pavasovic, a computer consultant in Belgrade, serves as WiRED's coordinator in Serbia.

 

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