Swiss Federal Councillor and Vice President Alain Berset had his first visit in Albania, thus marking the highest-level visit by a Swiss government official in recent times. During the visit, Minister Berset signed the agreement with Minister of Finance and Economy Delina Brahimaj that ensures that Swiss and Albanian nationals receive equal treatment in respect of their social security entitlements and have better access to these benefits.
Vice President Berset met with Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj and discussed the excellent relations between Albania and Switzerland, and the responses to the 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the visit, Minister Berset met with the Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu and visited the Vora health centre renovated with Swiss support. Discussions centred on efforts to tackle the pandemic, the vaccination roll-out, and the experiences of both countries in handling the crisis.
Another topic was Switzerland’s support for the Albanian health system with Switzerland being the most important bilateral partner in the health sector. Since 2015, Switzerland is supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and its subordinate institutions, to improve primary healthcare (PHC) services through its project “Health for All” (HAP).
A major achievement of the support in strengthening primary healthcare is the elaboration of the “Strategy for development of PHC services 2020-2025”. HAP is assisting health authorities to implement the Strategy through several interventions that aim better service quality at PHC level through more capable health professionals and improved infrastructure.
Minister Berset met with family medicine teams that are piloting several interventions introduced by HAP such as: new models of home care for elderly and chronic bed bound patients; use of new clinical protocols and guides for treatment of most common non-communicable diseases; new profiles of nurses operating in PHC and new continuous education programs for health professionals. Teams provided insights on the impact of these interventions into their daily practice and service quality offered to patients.