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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4349.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 8:50 PM

Abstract #104081

Rediscovering primary health care in Albania

Dorina Tocaj, MD, Health Promotion, PRO Shendetit (Pro Health) Project, Rr "Budi" 41/1, Tirana, Albania, 855 4 340 235, dtocaj@urc-chs.com, Engjell Mihali, MD, Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Rr "Budi" 41/1, Tirana, Albania, and Richard B. Sturgis, PhD, ProShėndetit Project (Improving Primary Health Care in Albania), Rruga "Pjeter Budi", 41/1, Tirana, Albania.

Rediscovering Primary Health Care in Albania and unleashing the potential of the community

Albania burst out of 40 years of isolation and Communist rule in 1991. Chaos reigned then and again in 1997, with the collapse of a huge economic pyramid scheme. On both occasions citizens took to the streets destroying some public facilities, including health infrastructure. As the poorest country in Europe, Albania is now attempting to define a functional, sustainable health system and restore basic Primary Health Care that serves all Albanians, including the most poor. Part of the solution lies in reawakening and engaging the potential of 40 percent of the population that still resides in rural villages. A community-based communication strategy, adapted from lessons learned in Africa and South East Asia (in far less-developed countries), is being used in organizing the potential of villagers and awakening the health system to the largely ignored community as an essential health care resource. A program funded by USAID working with the Ministry of Health is linking providers and villagers in health promotion and preventive health care partnerships. This program has started in five of the twelve regions of Albania and will expand to all twelve. The approach is contributing to a sustainable low-cost extension of the health care system. This paper reports on the implementation of the strategy and lessons learned.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Community Involvement, Primary Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Rural Health: Reaching the Hard to Reach

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA