BIRN report: As numbers of Albanian doctors and nurses decline, burdens increase on rural health care services

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Photo of a village clinic in western Albania taken from the BIRN report.
Courtesy Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

LIBRAZHD AND PRRENJAS, ALBANIA     The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) Albania, supported by USAID partner University Research Co., published an on-line story by journalist Ediola Terziu that draws attention to the lack of doctors and nurses in rural areas, and the struggle this causes for these communities.

Albania has the smallest number of doctors per capita in the Balkan region - 1.2 doctors per 1000 persons, and 3.6 midwives / nurses per 1000 (according to the Global Health Observatory).  The situation is further exacerbated by the continued migration of the country’s medical professionals to other EU countries, especially Germany, for work.

The lack of medical staff is felt most in remote mountainous areas, like the west-central Albanian municipalities of Librazhd and Prrenjas - two geographically large rural areas with poor roads and infrastructure.

Through the Justice for All project, to help combat corruption and promote transparency, USAID trains journalists to engage in more fact-based, cross-border, and national investigative journalism. The project aims to also strengthen fact-checking services in Albania as a means of holding public actors more accountable for their statements and proposed programs, and will also complement efforts to monitor the performance of the courts.