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Mission Closes After Decade With War-Affected Population
MSF activities in the former Yugoslavia began in 1991, with an evacuation of wounded from Vukovar, then under siege. Initial programs responded to emergency needs of people confronted by war; the peace agreement in 1995 brought a shift in Bosnia itself to medium-term projects focusing on mental health, family medicine, and rehabilitation of medical facilities. With long-term reconstruction now under way, and many other development-oriented organizations in place, MSF decided to end its work in the country.
A family medicine program, which trained 50 doctors and 71 nurses in Doboj, Tuzla, and eastern Republika Srpska, was turned over to local health workers in July 2001. MSF had also been providing short-term primary care to the Roma (gypsy) population in Sarajevo. A program of psychological support for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and training of mental health professionals in Gorazde finished in late 2000.
The end of MSF's service in Bosnia was punctuated by a return to a painful episode in Bosnia's past, the wartime overthrow of the safe haven Srebrenica in 1995 and subsequent deportation and massacre of thousands of Muslims. MSF, present in the enclave at the time of the massacre, called in July 2000 for a French parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances of Srebrenica's fall.