The World Bank approved a credit of US$15.4 million to Albania to help finance the Health System Modernization Project in Albania. The project will help the government improve both physical and financial access to health services with an emphasis on the poor and those in rural and remote areas.
The total cost of the Project is estimated at US$19.1 million and will be co-financed by the Government of Japan (US$1.6 million) and the Government of Albania (US$2.1 million).
The quality of health care in Albania is low compared with other countries in South East Europe, particularly at the primary care level. Physical and human resources in the health sector need to be aligned with the population’s health needs. Productivity in this sector is low and the efficiency of resource use can be improved. The public sector contribution to health care is small, so low-income groups are not well protected and are easily thrown into poverty as a result of out-of-pocket spending. Further, there is large contribution evasion in the health insurance, which decreases the number of those who benefit from the coverage. The Health System Modernization Project aims to tackle all these deficiencies by introducing fundamental and systemic changes in the way health care is financed, delivered, and organized. These changes will require a gradual introduction, careful preparation and capacity building of health care providers, the Health Insurance Institute, and Ministry of Health to ensure that they are ready to assume their increased responsibilities.
„This project will support Government health priorities set in the National Strategy for Social and Economic Development and the Ministry of Health Long-term Health Strategy for improving, in general, the efficiency of the health system and, in particular, the health service access and health status of the poor and those in rural and remote areas,“ says World Bank Task Team Leader Dominic Haazen.
The Project includes the following components: (i) strengthening health sector stewardship, financing, and purchasing; (ii) improving primary health care service delivery; and (iii) strengthening hospital governance and management. It will build on the work done by other development partners, including USAID, WHO and SDC, and will involve those partners in project implementation.
By the time the project is completed, at least 70 percent of the population will be enrolled with a primary health care provider and use him/her as their first source of health care, and hospitals will perform better, using new governance approaches.
The Health System Modernization Project has a maturity of 20 years, including a ten-year grace period.