Made in Croatia

Alemka Markotic, the Healthcare Heroine Trying to Save Croatia from COVID-19

By 29 March 2020

March 29, 2020 - She is the most popular woman in Croatia right now, and millions are grateful to Alemka Markotic are the rest of the National Civil Protection Headquarters for their outstanding efforts and communication skills. 

I am not in the habit of writing articles praising people I have never met, but these are extraordinary times. 

And another thing that has also been extraordinary has been the response and communication of the Croatian Government and the members of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, among whom is Alemka Markotic,  Director at the Zagreb Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fran Mihaljevic.

The level of communication and the no-nonsense advice and information has been exceptional to watch, and I applaud all who are working so tirelessly to protect us all. 

Last week we featured Vili Beros, the new Health Minister, who only took up the position on January 28, 2020. His effectiveness in the position catapulted him to an unlikely position in the Croatian media for a serving government minister - the second most popular person in the country on the last Index.hr list of Top 20 Positive and Top 20 Negative people in Croatia. 

But while Vili made it to number two, top spot was reserved for Alemka Markotic. 

alemka-markotic-covid-19.png

Here no-nonsense approach has produced some very memorable lines, which have rammed the message home to citizens that this is a fight that needs to be fought sitting at home in self-isolation. 

"Does Croatia have enough ventilators?" 

"That depends on the behaviour of our citizens."

And perhaps her most memorable like so far, just 8 days ago

"If we want a corona party we will have it."

A lot of expats have asked me if I could write an article about Alenka Markotic and her background. 

As I am not so familiar with that, I am extremely grateful to Iva Tatic for this piece below with more information about Alemka Markotic. As regular TCN readers will know, Iva has been contributing for us for several years part-time. Sadly, I had to put our cooperation on temporary hold, due to necessary cutbacks due to the crisis. Not only did Iva take the news in a professional and adult manner, she has since contributed several pieces to TCN for free, including this one. Bravo, Kolegice, much appreciated, and we look forward to having you back on board soon. 

Alemka Markotić was born in Zagreb in October of 1964 (the entire nation of Croatia should get together and buy her a birthday present; we can organize that), but her education mostly took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She completed high-school in Zavidovići, and then Medical school at the University of Sarajevo, where she got her degree before the wars in former Yugoslavia started. Her post-graduate studies mostly continued at the Medical school at the University of Zagreb, where she managed to get a master’s degree in 1991, after which she dedicated herself to humanitarian work during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She worked as a GP during the occupation of Sarajevo, and helped the Caritas war pharmacy and outpatient clinic. In 1994 she continued working for Caritas charity, but in Croatia, where she took the position of medical coordinator working with displaced people and refugees.

Her specialisation was in the field of clinical immunology, so her next job was in the now almost completely defunct Institute of Immunology in Zagreb. During her time there she managed to get a PhD, and completed a post-doctoral stay in the US, where she worked in the biosafety laboratories of the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Maryland.

In 2005 she moves to the Hospital for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević”, which is where she is the director since 2017, and which is the position she holds now, during the largest infectious crisis of our times.

She teaches at numerous universities in Croatia and abroad: University of Zagreb Medical School and Faculty of Food Technology, University of Osijek Medical School, University of Rijeka Medical School, Study of Forensics at the University of Split, and others.

Dr. Markotić has always been public and vocal about her religious belief, declaring that the is a practicing catholic and that she wouldn’t be able to do what she does, both now and during the war-times in Sarajevo, were it not for her faith in God.

Our thanks to all who are working with Alemka Markotic in the fight against corona. 

You can follow the latest news on TCN in our dedicated corona section

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