WHO coordinates assessment of primary health care in Albania

WHO

Upon the request of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania for technical assistance in developing and implementing a new model of primary health care, WHO coordinated an initial assessment mission in Albania, on 15–18 January 2018.

The mission assessed the primary health care regulatory framework, current practices (scope of services, standardization of practices, care pathways), current conditions (structure of premises, equipment, the workforce, clinical guidelines and protocols), as well as inequalities in availability and access to services.

The WHO technical assistance mission was led by Dr Hans Kluge, Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health, WHO/Europe; Dr Nazira Artykova, WHO Representative in Albania; and Dr Arnoldas Jurgutis, Senior Advisor, WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care, Almaty; as well as primary health care experts Dr Ala Nemerenco, from Moldova, and Dr Goran Carlsson from Sweden. The team was supported by the WHO Country Office in Albania.

During the mission, Ms Ogerta Manastirliu, Minister of Health and Social Protection, conducted discussions with WHO, at which she reconfirmed the commitment of the government to the development of primary health care, in the pursuit of universal health coverage. Dr Hans Kluge provided the minister with preliminary findings on the strengths and limitations of primary health care in Albania and promised WHO’s engagement in the efforts to support and strengthen primary health care.

The mission addressed the perspective of local governments when developing primary health care by engaging with the Mayor of Fier, Albania, Mr Armando Subashi.

The assessment also focused on the network of services providing for people in rural and urban areas of Tirana and in the municipality of Fier. Public health and health insurance authorities were consulted to improve understanding of the constraints and opportunities in creating an enabling environment for the practice of family medicine in Albania.

Roundtable discussions were held with key primary health care experts, nominated by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection to develop, hand in hand with WHO, a new primary health care model in Albania.

Some of the major outcomes of the assessment included an agreement for further feasibility studies, the development of a tool for the assessment, and the following clear next steps:

  • development and validation of the tool for in-depth primary health care feasibility assessment;
  • assessment of existing standards and other normative regulations and the legal framework;
  • assessment of selected piloting networks of primary health care;
  • assessment of and alignment to health system enablers.