Public Health Institute Niš is the oldest preventive health care medical institution in the Balkans.
The Institute performs activities within the areas of social medicine, hygiene, epidemiology and microbiology according to the state tasks and programs of the Republic of Serbia.
The Institute's activities cover the Niš and Toplica regions.
Public Health Institute Niš has received the quality system certificate from TUV SUD (register number of certificate 12 100 39069 TMS), and has achieved the ISO 9001:2008 certificate. The Accreditation Board of Serbia, Belgrade awarded the accreditation certificate (accreditation number 01-142) confirming that the Center of Hygiene and human ecology of the Public Health Institute Niš fulfills the requirements SRPS ISO-IEC 17025:2006 and is competent to perform testing as specified in the scope of accreditation.
Public Health Institute Niš is the oldest preventive health care institution in the Balkans, founded in 1900. Throughout its long history, the name and scope of this institution was changed, but from its inception, the Institute always focused on protecting and improving the health of the population of southeastern Serbia.
Today, the Public Health Institute Niš, as the part of the Serbian network of public health institutes, represents a serious professional, research and educational national public health institution. The mission and vision of the Institute are well compliant with the current national legislation, as well as with the European and international guidelines.
The structural characteristics and the functioning of the public health institutes in Serbia are regulated by a separate Law on Public Health adopted in 2009, by the basic laws and their amendments (the Health Care Law and the Health Insurance Law), and also by a set of about 32 legislative acts primarily relating to other areas.
The vision for Public Health Insitute Niš is to become a leading national and regional institution dedicated to the application and translation of science, practice and promotion of public health with aim to improve community and national health by developing interdisciplinary and multi-sector activities in the public health system.
The mission of the Public Health Insitute Niš is to integrate diverse public health activities into achieving good health benefits for the population of Nisava and Toplica district, at first place, as well as in other parts of Serbia. In order to fulfil its mission and vision, the Public Health Institute Niš is developing:
Public Health Institute Niš has received the quality system certificate from TUV SUD (register number of certificate 12 100 39069 TMS), and has achieved the ISO 9001:2008 certificate. The Accreditation Board of Serbia, Belgrade awarded the accreditation certificate (accreditation number 01-142) confirming that the Center of Hygiene and human ecology of the Public Health Institute Niš fulfills the requirements SRPS ISO-IEC 17025:2006 and is competent to perform testing as specified in the scope of accreditation. The accreditation provides recognition of regulated reliability, independence and impartiality of analyses and results performed at the Institute. This ensures comparability of results with other countries, the international recognition of the Institute’s competence, high quality and transparency of its services. The objectives for the improvement of the quality of plans and work quality include: improving customer satisfaction through a "client-oriented approach"; improvement of employee satisfaction, improving the working conditions in all organizational units; maintenance of meeting the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 throughout the institution and in the ISO IEC 17025 in the accredited center; continuous increase of the realization of the activities and tasks for the market. The National Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter and Helicobacter was established at the Public Health Institute Niš. It collaborates with other reference laboratorios within the scope of the Institute’s accreditation and participate in the validation of control methods.
The Royal Pasteur Institute started its work in Niš, under military management, in separate building, as the first preventive care institution in the Balkans in June 1900, (only ten years after the founding of the Pasteur Institute in Paris). It was established visionary in order to involve local experts to start production of animal lymph, and to treat people bitten by rabid animals, using vaccines produced in local conditions. By the end of that year, 11,540 units of the serum were made and used mostly for military purposes.
According to the Serbian Army Ministry order, Royal Pasteur Institute was officially established in December 25th 1900. Dr. Dragutin Petkovic (1873–1947) was the first manager of Royal Pasteur Institute, Niš and for the production of anti-rabies vaccine, he used Hegyes method from Budapest. This method represented a significant improvement of Pasteur’s method. In the first year of the Institute’s activity, more than 200 people were cured after being bitten by rabid animals and only 3 died. In the period 1901-1915. the Pasteur Institute was the only institution of its kind in the country. Dr Petkovic published about 20 scientific paper. In 1904, the activities of Institute further developed and bacteriological unit and disinfection unit established. The first training course in Serbia about disinfection was done.
During the First World War, the Pasteur Institute in Nis was destroyed and important archives were lost. Shortly after the War, Serbia and Montenegro were included in the ‘Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes’. A comprehensive analysis of the rabies situation at that time revealed that police authorities in charge of animal rabies control did nothing to implement control measures (unsatisfactory in themselves) prescribed by the existing laws; in city streets, packs of dogs wandered freely. As a consequence, the number of injured persons increased sharply. For example, in Nis alone in 1921, 2,022 were treated. For example, in the same year, 1,837 were treated in the Zagreb Institute and 1,083 treated in its department in Velika Gorica.
Immediately after the First World War, the Pasteur Institute in Nis was reconstructed under the guidance of the new director, Dr Gerasimos Alivisatos from Greece, and transformed into the civil institution. Alivisatos decided to try to improve Hogyes method by using combined dilution of live vaccine with concentrated ether treated vaccine. He published his work about the ‘Alivisatos ether method’ as it was called in the Deutschen Medicinische Wochenschrift journal in 1922. ether for attenuation. This method was soon accepted in all Yugoslav Pasteur Institutes, and also in Pasteur Institutes in Athens, Vienna, Sofia, Madrid and Buenos Aires. Introduction of Alivisatos’ method was particularly important bearing in mind that, the number of persons given this treatment in the Kingdom during 1921-1925 was the highest in Europe, an annual average of over 5,500 cases. Of this number, those treated in Nis comprised about one-third.
In October 14th 1923. the Pasteur Institute, Niš became the Epidemiological Institute, with priority to control infectious diseases, like dysentery and typhus. The special unit for high-quality terrain work was established with four cars and special equipment (mobile bacterial laboratory, device for disinfection, bath and car for transport of patients).
In 1926. the Institute became the first Hygiene Institute in the country. In this period, the priority was hygienization, mostly in rural communities, including health education of the population and promotion of different socio-medical items. A great number of bacteriological laboratories, stations for desinfection, antituberculosis and school clinics with bathrooms were founded. Besides chemical and sanitary-technical units, the health statistical unit was established, as forerunner of social-medicine work.
Between two World Wars, many physicians – scholars of League of Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, WHO etc. visited the Institute as example of good practice.
In the 1941 – 1951 period, the Institute has gone through a very difficult period of war and postwar reconstruction, like many other similar institutions in the country, without human and material resources. Six departments were established: bacteriological-epidemiological, socio-medical, sanitary-technical, chemical, unit for health care protection of schoolchildren and antituberculosis unit. In 1946, the secondary medical school in Niš, one of oldest in Serbia, opened and the Institute had important role in that process.
An important year for the Institute was 1961, when it became the Institute for Health Protection and one of the most important professional, educational and scientific basis for the Faculty of medicine University of Niš. Already in 1965. the first professional meeting Days of preventive medicine took place in the Institute and this tradition sustain till nowadays.
In the latest half of the twentieth century, the main sectors of the Institute were social medicine, hygiene, epidemiology and microbiology.
The Institute further changed its name several more times and finally from the end of the 2006, its official name became the Public Health Institute Nis, focused on improving the public health on the territory of Nisava and Toplica district.
As part of network of public health institutes in the Republic of Serbia, and leading public health, research and educational institution, educational base of Medical faculty in Nis it works on three levels of health care, providing preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical services in the following areas: Microbiology with Parasitology and Virology, Epidemiology (Diseases control), Hygiene with medical ecology, Medical statistics and informatics, Social Medicine and Health Promotion.
The activity of the Institute is defined by the Serbian legislation, which considers public health as “the realization of public interest by creating conditions for the preservation of public health through organized comprehensive social activity aimed at preserving the physical and mental health and environmental protection, and prevention of risk factors for disease and injuries, which is accomplished by application of health technologies and measures aimed at promoting health, preventing disease and improving quality of life.”
In that regard, the Institute´s main areas of activity are:
The Institute has been working on three levels of health care, providing preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical services.
The Public Health Institute Niš performs the program tasks defined by the Ministry of Health of Republic of Serbia, and the health services contracted with the National Health Insurance Fund, and also conducts market business.
The Public Health Institute Niš personnel qualification is among the best from 25 institutes of public health in Serbia, and has played one of the leading roles in the public health system in the Republic of Serbia, as well as in carrying out public health functions and services for the population of two districts (Nisava and Toplica).
The Public Health Institute Niš collaborates and cooperates with 30 health facilities, including 12 health centers, 2 general hospitals, 3 special hospitals, 2 pharmacies, the Clinical Center Niš, and other institutes and clinics.
According to the 2011 census, the region covered by the Public Health Institute Niš has a total population of 1,563,916.
The Public Health Institute Niš employs 221 employees, among them 170 healthcare professionals (65 medical doctors, 75 healthcare workers with BSc and secondary education) and 31 health associates.
The high-qualified employees (29 PhD, 11 MSc and 60 specialists in different fields of public health) of The Public Health Institute Niš have a very good reputation and recognition on the national level. Many of the specialists have been actively involved in the working groups and bodies at both state and local levels. They are the authors of numerous scientific and professional publications (textbooks, monographs, abstract books, practical guides, CDs, audio and video publications and scientific papers).
The healthcare staff is very active in the organization of different forms of continued medical education- several meetings and the unique, traditional annual international preventive medicine Congress - “Days of Preventive medicine”.
Due to the fact that 26 Institute employees are lecturers on the University of Niš Faculty of Medicine, the Public Health Institute Niš is closely collaborating with the University of Niš.
The development of the Institute is characterized by intense activity in the healthcare, scientific research and educational activities. The role of education in the field of public health for health care providers of different levels of education and other relevant profiles is very important, as they ensure the continuity of the reform process and the transfer of knowledge and skills to next generations of medical professional and healthcare managers in Serbia.
Our previous project experience includes, in most cases, projects realized with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection, and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Serbia, with financial and technical assistance from international organizations: the World Health Organization, UNICEF, European Commission, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria etc.
The Public Health Institute Niš has also obtained significant experience of project participation and maintains its partnership relations by acting as a partner in the following EU-funded projects:
Nowadays, the Public Health Institute Niš employees are oriented to apply modern technologies in the field of public health and conduct diverse activities into achieving good health benefits for the population, and, like other modern institutions, to continuously increase the satisfaction of their client and employees.
The already developed action plan of the Public Health Institute Niš is intended to provide the conditions so that the Institute regains its official status of the key public health institution on the territory of south and southeast Serbia, develop better partnerships with the local community, and implement the activities necessary for the operation of the National Referential Laboratories in coordination with interested and necessary partners in Serbia and the European Union.
From the beginning of its formation, the Public Health Institute Niš had directed a lot of attention to the education of its staff. The first vice-deans of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš (founded on May 18, 1960) were professors in the fields of epidemiology and microbiology. Since then, preventive medicine and Public Health Institute Niš have been the main pillars of medical science, practice and education in Niš.
The scientific meeting “Days of preventive medicine” was established in 1965, its main themes being the promotion of health and the acquisition of new knowledge related to prevention of diseases. This meeting, now traditional, enables experts in the field of preventive medicine to share their knowledge and experiences, as well as to acquire new knowledge and skills that will help them in future work. The Institute has managed to keep the continuity of this scientific symposium even through the hardest periods, respecting scientific and professional postulates in the service of preservation and improvement of public health.
“Days of preventive medicine“ have lasted for 48 years and passed a long way from a symposium up to the status of an international congress in the field of preventive medicine, the only one of this kind in the Balkans. There were a variety of topics and great number of attendees from the field of preventive and clinical medicine.