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Queen's University


Community Based Rehabilitation Project in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Project Information


Community Based Rehabilitation Project in Bosnia-Herzegovina


Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)


$980,000 CAD


December 1994 - December 1996

Primary Site:

Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH)


  • The major beneficiaries of this project were the persons with disability as a result of the war and their families.

  • Furthermore, therapists, nurses and doctors benefitted from their clinical education in CBR.


The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992-1995 killed 250,000 people, injured another 175,000 and caused the largest flight of refugees (1.25 million) the world had seen in fifty years. All "normal" services including health and social services, communication and utilities, were disrupted. In the city of Sarajevo, there was virtually no electricity, and very little water and wood for heating. Thousands of civilians had died as a result of the bombardment, which often exceeded three thousand shells per day. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) flew in plane loads of humanitarian aid, but only when promises of security could be met.


As a result of the situation in Sarajevo, access to medical care was extremely limited and services began to develop locally. The need for these services augmented significantly when casualties, who had progressed to the point of being stable, were forced out of existing hospitals to make room for new casualties. As "stable" people flooded out of hospitals, they were often in dire need of rehabilitation services, as most were still suffering from the effects of their injuries. At the request of the Bosnian government, a Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs team went to the region in 1993 to identify specific projects that could improve on current Canadian support efforts to the UN. One obvious need was the provision of physical therapy services in Sarajevo. The ICACBR team contributed to the first project, "Community Rehabilitation Services in Sarajevo Project", from October 1993 to October 1994, later labeled "Phase I". This Project demonstrated that developing rehabilitation services at the community level and integrating these into the primary health care sector could meet the needs of the disabled population and their families. Beginning in late 1994, the ICACBR team began Phase II of the Project and based their work on the framework established in Phase I.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000