UN: Albania spends the least on healthcare among SEE countries

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 6, 2020 11:54

UN: Albania spends the least on healthcare among SEE countries

TIRANA, Aug. 6 - In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that public spending on health as a share of GDP is lower in Albania than in most South Eastern European countries is worrisome. According to the latest UN report about Covid-19 response, this trend will continue further into 2022, decreasing to 2.94 percent from the current 2.97 percent share.

"WHO projection for 2020–2022 show that Albania will spend for the next three years less than 10 percent on health from the overall public monies. The decline in the resources to primary care is concerning. The strategy on the development of primary care in Albania calls for an increased budget to 25 percent," the report reads.

The report notes that a number of public health services have been affected during the lockdown, related to non-Covid-19 diseases; all services were suspended except emergency and follow-up/treatment for certain categories of patients and contacts of health personnel with patients was minimized. In late June, the University Medical Center in Tirana witnessed an outbreak of coronavirus cases which led to further limitations in the provision of these services, including screening and treatment of cancer patients.

Furthermore, the allocation of existing budget health programs to Covid-19 activities will have long-lasting effects, as this has led to what the UN report calls 'loss', due to "missed diagnosis, missed prevention, missed treatment, missed gain of healthy life years."

The report points out that Albania took some measures to increase the availability of health workers, by engaging students and residents as well as bringing back health workers from retirement. At the same time, an estimated 8 percent of health care workers so fare are infected with COVID-19 virus, which adds to the strain on health workers' availability.

A 97-million-dollar relief plan

Following the announcement by the UN Secretary General on May 4 of the UN Global Framework for Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19, the UN Local Team in Albania has developed a socio-economic response program for the next 12-18 months.

With an estimated budget of $ 97,393,880, the proposed plan sets out the consolidated offer of United Nations agencies for socio-economic response and recovery by supplementing the Albanian Government's National Response Plan and the current Plan of National Strategic Preparation and Response.

The UN Recovery and Response Plan will support the government in its recovery across five pillars, namely, health response and systems strengthening, pro-poor social systems, resilient economies, macro-economic and fiscal management, and social cohesion and community resilience.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 6, 2020 11:54