A second workshop with patients and local actors to discuss the challenges and gaps in receiving primary health care services and the implementation of patient rights at the local level for patients with chronic diseases was held in Dibra on 22nd of November 2018. The first workshop with the same objectives took place in 31 October in Fier.

In total, 60 representatives from the Municipality, Public Health Directorate, RD of Health Insurance Fund, and Albanian Helsinki Committee, patients, media and local non-governmental organizations attended the workshops.

Both workshops were organized by “Network of Patients’ Organizations with Chronic Diseases” with the financial support of Health for All Project (HAP). During the workshops the head of the network presented the situation of patients with chronic diseases in each of the regions by providing statistical information on the age groups, gender structure of the population, mortality rate and efficiency of local institutions dealing with these issues as well as implementation of patient rights in these regions.

Representatives of Regional Directorates of Public Health and Health Insurance Fund provided a general information about the chronic diseases and the role of these institutions in prevention of chronic diseases by organizing different health promotion activities aiming the increase of awareness of citizens about these diseases. The workshops served as a good opportunity to introduce recent developments in the legal and institutional framework related to the patient’s rights to the participants.

An important part of the workshops was reserved to an open discussion among the participants. Patients had the possibility to state their opinions, challenges, and suggestions related to their chronic diseases and the availability and quality of the services.

Despite the achievements made during the last years, chronic diseases continue to be a serious problem for the public health sector due to the lack of proper information, life style, pollution, genetic factors etc. On this regard, the following recommendations have been made:

National and local health care public institutions should improve their policies and practices to solve shortcomings and problems related to the lack of staff, medicine and infrastructure
increase the awareness of patients regarding their rights and responsibilities through information sessions, campaign and  comprehensive involvement of all local actors