First issue: PHC in Albania in COVID-19 context

Primary healthcare teams have adapted their services in accordance with the latest guidelines of the Healthcare Services Operator and Health Insurance Fund in response to the newly emerged situations caused by COVID-19.

We hereby present you a briefing on the features of the current primary healthcare services based on the information Health for All Project collected from several PHC teams in Fier and Diber qark.

We thereby express our deepest gratitude for the commitment of the primary healthcare teams in preventing COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 CASE IDENTIFICATION / FOLLOW-UP

  • HC teams:
    • Follow up the health status by telephone calls during the self-isolation period of:
    • People infected with COVID-19 quarantined at home
    • COVID-19 contacts, according to the Local Health Care Unit database
    • Recent returnees from Italy (based on the Police and local authorities databases)
    • Within the National Emergency Service, they perform passive triage based on the ‘COVID-19 triage’ checklist of the National Medical Emergency Center (according to the National Health Operator’s Guide) in response to calls received by the HC
    • Actively inform the population in the respective catchment areas by means of communication about the vital importance for each individual to follow the basic rules for preventing the spread of infection (information by telephone, text messages, Whatsapp, Viber, etc.)
    • Do their uttermost to follow the self-protection rules and prevent the spread of infection by observing the rules of wearing and disposing of their personal protective equipment, washing hands, and disinfecting the HC premises.

PROVISION OF CARE FOR CHRONIC PATIENTS

  • In line with health authorities’ instructions, health center consultations have in most cases been replaced by telephone consultations, which has led to a decreasing number of visits to health centers. In this context, in order to facilitate the communication, the family doctor’s personal telephone number has been posted at the health center front door as well as on the HC, local government, local businesses online communication channels.
    • Chronic patients have been advised to receive their prescriptions at the HC helpdesk or go straight to the pharmacy after their prescription code/codes have been electronically confirmed (by telephone, text messages, Whatsapp, Viber, etc.)
    • In the cases of remote areas or patients over 65 years old who cannot leave their houses or have no relatives who can take care of them, it is possible for the health post or HC in cooperation with the local government to deliver the medications to their apartments.

CHILD VACCINATION

The child vaccination program continues only by scheduling visits to the HC in advance. Arrangements have been made for only the mother and child to enter the Child Counseling Center.

FACING COVID-19: TESTIMONIES OF HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

We have worked closely with HAP for the fulfillment of accreditation standards’ requirements including the guidelines for infection prevention. This experience has helped us a lot in taking the needed steps and updating our work procedures aiming the prevention of COVID-19 infection while serving to our community.- Dr. Tushe Qalliu, Family doctor and HC Manager, Aranitas HC

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