Catholic priest calls on Albania doctors and med students to stop collective exodus

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 12, 2019 06:57

Catholic priest calls on Albania doctors and med students to stop collective exodus

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  • Albania has been facing an exodus of doctors in the past few years, making the country’s healthcare system, already facing one of world’s lowest number of doctors, even more vulnerable.

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TIRANA, Feb. 12 – Catholic Priest Angelo Massafra called on Albanian doctors and medical students not to leave the country in hoards looking for a better future for themselves during February 11 – the World Day of the Sick.

“Doctors to stay in Albania, not just think about money. If the best doctors leave Albania, who will be left to cure us, to cure you. It is not right,” Massafra said during Holy Mass, in Shkodra’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Albania has been facing an exodus of doctors in the past few years, making the country’s healthcare system, already facing one of world’s lowest number of doctors, even more vulnerable.

More than 500 doctors are reported to have left the country in the past few years, mainly heading for Germany, Europe’s largest economy, which has eased work procedures for medical staff coming from the Western Balkans as it tries to fill the huge gaps in its healthcare system.

The current numbers represent about a tenth of total number of doctors in Albania, but what’s worse is that an overwhelming majority of medical staff working at the country’s public and private hospitals would be willing to leave the country if they were offered an opportunity.

Monthly bonuses of up to €2,000 a month for working outside Tirana and in remote areas suffering shortages of specialty doctors since early 2018 have not been much appealing and facilities like the Dibra regional hospital, north of the country, continue redirecting their patients to Tirana – a difficult feat, especially during the snow-ridden winter.

Albania currently has only 1.2 doctors per thousand residents, in one of the lowest coverage rates comparable only to war-torn countries.

The Balkan country has regularly lost medical staff since the early 1990s following the country’s transition to democracy and a market economy following decades of a hardline communist regime and a planned economy.

However, the brain drain has sharply picked up in the past five years following a relaxation in procedures by Germany due to its huge needs for medical staff, mainly nurses in homes for the elderly.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 12, 2019 06:57