Health

UNICEF works to improve children’s health and nutrition in Albania. With our partners, we strengthen health systems, maximize immunization coverage and support policies and financing to safeguard the health of children and women.

Nutrition, Consultation and immunization centre,Durres
© UNICEF/UN041392/Giacomo Pirozzi

The challenge

Health

Disparities and inequalities persist among children living in poor families, rural and remote areas, and in Roma communities.

Limited expertise and resources have been allocated to the monitoring of child development and early detection of child development problems. Inadequate knowledge and skills of health care providers combined with inadequate resource-allocation affect the quality of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) care.

Immunization coverage for children at over 97% is nearly universal. Although national immunization rates remain at satisfactory levels, a stronger focus on addressing the emerging vaccine hesitancy is required.

The Albanian health system needs serious revival and renewal to allow for adequate management and assessment of itself. Better statistics, regular health surveys and improved administrative data are needed to support evidence-based health policy and setting of priorities.      

Albania has made significant progress in reducing child mortality and increasing access to equitable healthcare but challenges still remain.

According to the UN Inter- agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, since 1990, infant and Under-five Mortality rates in Albania have steadily declined to 12 and 14 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively in 2016.

The Government of Albania is engaged in improving the health of Albanians through Universal Health Coverage. However, there is much to be done for children to survive, thrive and reach their full potential.

Spending on health care in Albania
is still below 3% of the GDP.

The Solution

Although there is no ongoing effort to strengthen health systems at the national and local levels, UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Health in a multiyear effort aimed at developing a new framework for women and children consulting centers. This includes a complete package of:

  • Clinical practice guidelines,
  • Protocols and standards of care for antenatal and postnatal care,
  • Child development; and
  • Mother and child nutrition.

Fully endorsed and owned by national policy makers and practitioners, the new standards combine a preventive public health approach with elements of child protection to encourage frontline health workers to use a holistic approach to child health and wellbeing.

We are working with national and local health authorities to develop effective enforcement mechanisms for the new regulatory framework. Together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, we will continue to support the new home-visit methodology while prioritizing the most vulnerable, intersectoral collaboration and an emphasis on monitoring child development.

Health

Towards a holistic approach
to child health and well-being.

UNICEF supports the Public Health Institute of the Ministry of Health in the preparation of a national list of core health indicators including child health and nutrition, and in the creation of a standard manual to guide the data collection process.

UNICEF’s support in the planning and implementation of Albania’s second Demographic Health Survey is critical for monitoring progress towards Sustainable Development Goals and knowledge generation.

To mobilize adequate resources for MNCH services, UNICEF works with the Ministry of Health and the Health Insurance Fund to develop a costing tool to calculate current and future costs by desired standards of service.

UNICEF will continue to support the Ministry of Health in the procurement of childhood vaccines and antiretroviral medicines.

Resources

These resources represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF globally and its partners in Albania. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information.

National Health report link

Website of MOH with standard protocols

Home visiting – public health conference proceedings 

Committing to child survival report;
Fair societies healthy lives full report;
Closing the gap in a generation, report of the Commission on social determinants on Health;
A promise renewed website