Nestled in the heart of nature, on the northwestern slopes of the Kozara mountain, lies the Special Hospital for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation “Mlječanica.”
In harmony with natural beauty, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, expert and courteous staff, “Mlječanica” Spa provides a pleasant stay and quick and successful patient recovery.
Surrounded by nature and rich in healing springs, this spa is located 14 kilometers away from the nearest town, Kozarska Dubica, and 25 kilometers from Prijedor.
The construction of hydro-blocks, new accommodation facilities, bungalows, the opening of hyperbaric chambers are just some of the achieved goals, with many more plans for the future. Artificial saltwater lakes, a sports hall, a hotel with a conference center, a spa and wellness center are part of what will undoubtedly elevate “Mlječanica” to the top of the health and tourism offerings in Europe in the near future.
Darko Banjac, the director of “Mlječanica” Spa, tells the portal Banjaluka.net that a lot has been accomplished in recent years.
“When I took over the leadership of ‘Mlječanica’ Spa in 2020, the organization was at a high level. A well-established system made it much easier to manage the spa. The financial situation had been brought to a certain level, but we needed to move forward. With the support of Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, and the government of Republika Srpska, we first renovated the existing facilities, including the restaurant, kitchen, doctor’s offices, the physiotherapy hall, and electrotherapy. We made sure that they meet the highest global standards, so that when you go to Germany or Switzerland, it can be no better than what we offer,” says Banjac.
The development of the health and tourism center is divided into two parts – health and tourism, Banjac points out.
“This year, by opening the hydro-block and bungalows, we are completing the health part of ‘Mlječanica.’ We operated in three directions. Our first goal was to strengthen the laboratory, so we reconstructed the laboratory, bought the most modern equipment, and now we are among the top five equipped laboratories in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The second segment in which we developed is diagnostics, so our diagnostic center currently has the most modern CT scanner, making us one of four hospitals in Bosnia and Herzegovina to have such a device. Along with acquiring state-of-the-art equipment, we educated our medical staff, so we currently have no issues with our staff. The third segment of development was in the field of baro-medicine, and that is precisely located in the hydro-block, which we are about to open,” says Banjac.
In the area of Mlječanica, natural healing springs with sulfur water have been known for centuries and were used mainly for local residents in the form of baths.
Patients who come to this spa receive water with a composition that can only be found in one other place in France, making it one of the highest quality in the continent. This sulfur water springs at a temperature of 14 degrees, is further heated, and releases compounds with healing properties for the body. Sulfur water aids in recovery after a stroke, spinal and hip surgeries, spinal diseases, postoperative procedures, osteoporosis, and more.
Today, this spa offers pools with sulfur water, sulfur baths, four-cell neurological baths, underwater massages, and a barocenter.
“We currently have the latest generation of Barox, an eight-person barochamber. We also have two one-person chambers. We are among the top three strongest barocenters in the Balkans. Everything is state-of-the-art,” says Banjac.
He mentions that last year, a semi-intensive care unit with 44 beds was opened, equipped with the most modern hospital beds, which is of great importance to patients.
“The semi-intensive care unit is equipped with a physiotherapy hall, electrotherapy room, floor heating, in-out ventilation, bathrooms, TV sets, Wi-Fi systems, and each room allows temperature regulation, making us one of the most modern semi-intensive care units of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All our systems are digital and provided by state-of-the-art manufacturers available in the market,” he emphasizes.
The construction of bungalows is currently nearing completion.
“We plan to open the bungalows soon. We have 10 two-bedroom and five one-bedroom bungalows, each with an area of 70 square meters, totaling 50 beds,” Banjac says, adding that Mlječanica currently has 144 beds available.
Although many say that the heart of Mlječanica is its healing water, Banjac believes that it is the people who are the real core of the spa, and the numerous patients can attest that Mlječanica has a professional team, always ready and helpful, who have been bringing patients back to this institution for years.
“Everything that Mlječanica earns goes to the employees. We strive to motivate and retain them, showing them how much they mean to us. Out of 144 beds available today, we have 130 employees. When we open the bungalows and reach the planned 200 beds, we will need to hire another 30 workers. We try to retain our staff. We ensured regular salary payments and rewards for employees, and they have good working conditions, with the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment,” he says, adding that all doctors, medical technicians, physiotherapists who want to undergo any training have the opportunity, with all costs covered.
The construction of the health-tourism center will continue in the coming years, with many plans in store.
“Next year, we are opening a sports and recreational center with a 350-seat football stadium, stands, locker rooms, offices, and an artificial turf field. A sports center with tennis courts and a multifunctional sports field with a rubberized surface for football, basketball, and handball will also be open. We also plan to build saltwater lakes with promenades and running paths next year. This will undoubtedly complement the complex. What remains in our plans for the future is the construction of a 5+ star hotel. The hotel should have outdoor and indoor pools, a spa and wellness center, including a cold sauna, which is essential for athletes’ preparation. The hotel’s capacity will be 155 beds, and construction will take between three and four years,” says Banjac.
With everything achieved in recent years and what lies ahead in the future, “Mlječanica” Spa is definitely surpassing national borders.
“This will be one of the most modern health-tourism centers in Republika Srpska, and I believe it will be a source of pride for Kozarska Dubica, the entire region, and Republika Srpska,” says Banjac.