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Cantons support psychiatric care in Bosnia

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and several Swiss cantons have signed an agreement supporting psychiatric care in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On Friday the cantons of Bern and Fribourg announced financial contributions were planned along with support concerning strategic and technical issues. Geneva and Jura are also involved.

The aim is to improve the quality and access to psychiatric services in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to a statement.

It said the country faced great challenges, some of which were a result of the conflict that shattered the former Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 1995. Consumption of alcohol and drugs among the young had greatly increased.

SFr4 million ($4.3 million) has been budgeted for the first three-year phase: the SDC will provide 84 per cent, the four cantons 11 per cent and the Bosnian authorities the remainder.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, declared independence in 1992. Switzerland established diplomatic relations the same year. The Bosnian embassy in Bern was opened in 1993, the Swiss embassy in Sarajevo in 1995.

According to the Swiss foreign ministry, 45,000 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Switzerland.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR