The research “Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Institutional Response to the Covid 19 Pandemic in Multiethnic Communities in Sandžak/South-western Serbia and Southern Serbia” was presented at a press conference on 24 February.

This research was conducted from October 2020 to January 2021 by “Forum 10” and SeConS – development initiative group in eight cities and municipalities in these multiethnic parts of the country.

The survey found that citizens were dissatisfied with the way local institutions responded to the Covid-19 virus pandemic. Respondents complain that the work of local governments and emergency headquarters was not transparent enough, and the measures are often contradictory and ineffective. Health and educational institutions, as well as the army and police, received better grades, especially in the first wave. Alternative service providers, volunteers, and civil society organizations played an important role in responding to the pandemic, it was said during the presentation of this research, and Danas reports.

The most important reasons why the response of the institutions was unsatisfactory and the trust of citizens in the institutions is low, are putting personal interests above the common good, political interests above health, irresponsibility of the authorities, ignorance and lack of ability to organize, research participants pointed out.

Fahrudin Kladničanin from “Forum 10” emphasized the importance of solidarity shown by health workers from other cities, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Čačak, which came to help this summer. Marija Babović from SeConS emphasized the problems that appeared in Bujanovac and Preševo – there are no hospitals in these municipalities, and the citizens had great resistance to being sent to the nearest hospital in Vranje because of the language distance.

The research was conducted within the project “Regional Youth Initiative for Integration: Youth Activism and Challenges for Multiethnic Communities in the Postcovid Period”, which “Forum 10” is implementing with the support of the Open Society Foundation. Aleksandra Šanjević from the Foundation said that this organization helped various projects in response to the Covid crisis with about a million dollars.