The Challenges of Multimorbidity in Post-Conflict Serbia

bridge over river during sunset


Tackling the Challenge of Multimorbidity in Post-Conflict Serbia: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Identification and Management of Causal Factors


Health, multi-disciplinary approach


Development of a strategy to identify and solve the main morbidity risk factors that are preventable, targeting the fields with the most excessive burden of multimorbidity.


Serbia has high rates of certain diseases and conditions, as well as of premature death, especially in the areas that were particularly stricken with the 1990’s armed conflicts. This puts an immense pressure on healthcare system. In the last 20 years, the public health concerns connected to the war’s impact on the environment have increased, especially when it comes to the bombing of civilians and industrial targets, which may have led to releasing of a wide range of chemical pollutants into the air, water and soil.

There are other possible reasons for the high levels of morbidity and mortality in the regions exposed to conflicts and subsequent ecological challenges: pollution of the air and water, poverty and unemployment and the high level of stress, as well as the behavioural causes of mortality and morbidity.

The main consequence of all potential causes is that individuals have more than one healthcare conditions, the phenomenon called “multimorbidity”.


The research was realised through a partnership between a number of organisations: University of Sheffield, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Ministry of Health, Institute for Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut”, Institute of Social Sciences, Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Medical Statistics and Information Technology.

Both qualitative and quantitative research was realised. The methodology utilised in the qualitative research included focus-groups and interviews with the population samples. The target population included healthcare professionals and management of local self-governments.

The aim of the research included: 1) insight into the main factors of multi-morbidity through the lens of decision-makers on the local level; 2) developing recommendations on amending regulations and practice in the public-health measures of prevention.

In addition to the qualitative, quantitative research was also realised based on the data received from the Statistical Office of Serbia and Institute of Public Health “Jovan Jovanović Batut”.


The results of the qualitative research indicate that there is an agreement in the perception of the interested parties that the multimorbidity in Serbia has been increased and that preventive measures need to be strengthened. All groups of predictors (ecological, behavioural and socio-economic) are perceived as equally significant.

The research was the basis for the creation of legislative and systemic recommendations.

The Project was managed by Elisabeth Goyder and Aleksandra Mladenović Đorđević.

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