Bridges for Birth (B4B)

Cross-border cooperation Lower Austria - Slovakia

The INTERREG V-A SK-AT 2014-2020 project "Bridges for Birth" has the aim to establish a partnership between the Hospital of Hainburg and the Children's University Hospital Bratislava in order to further strengthen the care of newborns in the border region. The National Institute of Children's Diseases Bratislava is located about 16 km away from the Hospital of Hainburg. Approximately 700 children are born in Hainburg every year, with the proportion of Slovakian mothers showing an upward trend. In rare cases, the newborn must continue to be cared for after birth or certain values must be additionally clarified.

Since the Hospital of Hainburg does not have a paediatric department and is therefore not equipped for neonatal emergencies, these are either transferred to the Hospital of Mistelbach 74 km away or to another Austrian hospital. In the "Bridges for Birth" project, an additional alternative, namely the transfer from the Hospital of Hainburg to the nearby National Institute of Children's Diseases in Bratislava, is being examined and clarified. On the basis of such a neonatal transfer, the cooperation between the emergency services will also be further strengthened. 

In addition to patient information, also future cooperation potentials are examined in order to establish long-term cross-border health care between Lower Austria and Slovakia.

Basic project information

Project name: Bridges for Birth
Project acronym: B4B
Project number: B204
Priority axis 4: Strengthening cross-border governance and institutional cooperation
Specific objective: No. 4.1.: Enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration by promoting legal and administrative cooperation and cooperation

Project partners

Lead Partner (LP): Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic
Partner (PP1): NÖ Landesgesundheitsagentur (NÖ LGA; Health Agency of Lower Austria)
Strategischer Partner: National Institute of Children's Diseases (NÚDCH)

Project financing

The project is implemented within the framework of the INTERREG V-A SK-AT cooperation programme and is co-financedwith up to 85% from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

More information about the Cooperation Programme (CP) INTERREG V-A Slovakia - Austria can be found here:

Project budget

The total project budget is € 426 600. Of this, 85% is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project budget is divided between the lead partner (Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic) with € 59 200 and the project partner (Lower Austrian Provincial Health Agency) with € 367 400.

Project duration (extended)

June 2018 until April 2022

Work packages (WP)

The project is divided into five work packages:

WP1: Management

  • Content: Project administration, management and documentation (semi-annual preparation of financial and progress reports, eventual project amendments), project coordination and coordination between project partners, programme authorities, expert groups and stakeholders.

WP2: Communication

  • Content: Regular exchange and coordination between the project partners, organisation and implementation of events, bilingual project information and press releases for relevant stakeholders and the public.

WP3: Definition of the potentials for future cross-border patient care - strategic plan "Cooperation Agenda 2020".

  • Content: Survey of the actual health and healthcare situation in the border region and the development of short-, medium- and long-term cross-border cooperation potentials.
  • Output: Strategic plan "Cooperation Agenda 2020

WP4: Rescue cooperation in the transport of neonatal emergencies as an example for a future rescue contract.

  • Content: Clarification of legal issues and billing mechanisms for cross-border emergency services.
  • Output: Proposal of a future cross-border emergency service contract between AT - SK

WP 5: Hospital cooperation in the field of neonatology

  • Content: The aim of this pilot project is to demonstrate an alternative for the follow-up care of newborns in the Hospital of Hainburg. A cooperation with the neonatology department of the nearby National Institute of Children's Diseases in Bratislava is being established and all necessary procedural and legal steps of a transfer between Hainburg and Bratislava will be clarified.

Output: A guideline for cross-border patient care using the example of neonatology; transport of at least 5 neonatal patients from the Hospital of Hainburg to the National Institute of Children's Diseases in Bratislava.

Download Projektposter


Project milestones

November 2017: Submission of project

June 2018: Project start
19. September 2018: Project start workshop + project partner meeting (PPM) in Bratislava (1)
27. November 2018: PPM in Hainburg (2)

12. February: PPM in Hainburg (3)
6. May: Kick-off event in Hainburg incl. press release
20. May: PPM in Bratislava (4)
27. September: PPM in Hainburg (5)

4. March: AP5 Transfer exercise Hainburg - Bratislava
8. June: PP1 approval of budget shift
15. July: (virtual) PPM (6)
5. November: LP + PP1 approval project change (extension, budget shift)
25. November: (virtual) PPM (7)

24. March: (virtual) PPM (8)

April 2022: End of project

Project progress

Approval of project changes - 5. November 2020

The epidemiologically tense situation since March 2020 around the Covid-19 pandemic has a considerable impact on the project, the individual work packages and the remaining project activities. In the health sector, all human resources - on both the Austrian and Slovakian side - are fully deployed to manage and cope the pandemic. The border between the Hospital of Hainburg and the National Institute of Children's Diseases Bratislava was temporarily closed and border crossings are still subject to strict exit & entry restrictions. Therefore, a project amendment was prepared by the project team from summer 2020 onwards, including a project extension of 1.5 years until April 2022. The project amendment was approved on 5.11.2020 by the managing authority.

Transfer exercise 4. March 2020

Within work package 5, the hospital cooperation in the field of neonatology, a transfer exercise of neonatological patients between the Hospital of Hainburg and the National Institute for Children’s Diseases (NÚDCH) Bratislava was carried out for the first time on 4 March 2020. In the dry run, all medical and administrative steps were rehearsed. The cooperation between the Lower Austrian and Slovakian teams worked flawlessly, so that the pilot phase of the project can begin in the future.

Kick-Off event 6. May 2019 

On 6th of May 2019, the official kick-off event of the INTRERREG SK-AT 2014-2020 project "Bridges for Birth" took place in the chapel of the Hospital of Hainburg. Both Austrian and Slovakian political representatives, media representatives, representatives of the project partners as well as people interested in the project took part and informed themselves about the first cross-border cooperation between Lower Austria and Slovakia in the field of health. The official words of welcome were given by the Member of the Provincial Government of Lower Austria Dr. Martin Eichtinger and the Slovakian State Secretary at the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic Prof. MUDr. Stanislav Špánik, CSc.

Contact details

For more information please contact:

NÖ Landesgesundheitsagentur
European Affairs / Healthacross

Julia Winkler, MA
Tel: +43 2742 9009 - 12026

Health Ministry of the Slovak Republic
Implementation of International Projects and International Policies

Ing. Zuzana Matloňová, PhD.
Tel.: 00421 918 576 623


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