Self-assessment of essential public health operations in Kosovo
Aim: The National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo (NIPHK) considered the challenge of assessing the availability and performance of critical public health services in Kosovo. To this end, support was requested from the World Health Organization (WHO) European Regional Office, through the WHO office in Pristina, for an action-oriented process. The systematic process of the self-assessment of public health operations aimed to generate sufficient empirical evidence to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the country’s health services and functions to provide recommendations for future public health actions in Kosovo.Methods: The NIPHK team followed the systematic self-assessment methodology of the Essential Public Health Operations (EPHO) model that the WHO’s regional office for Europe developed. The appraisal was conducted throughout 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 and involved a broad spectrum of public health actors. It also followed a participatory, interdisciplinary, and inter-sectoral approach. It was developed in three phases: preparation and collection of information, analysis and interpretation of the data, and critical recommendations for the Kosovo health authorities’ consideration.
Results: The assessment resulted in an overall score of 48% sufficiency for the set of public health operations (core and enablers). The most in need of development were EPHO 6, which is related to governance (only 20% of what is needed in this dimension as a whole), followed by EPHO 3, which considers vital aspects of health protection (35%), and EPHO 10, which is related to research capacities (40%). Based on the EPHO assessment results, the specialized teams developed a set of priority recommendations to strengthen the implementation of the EPHOs in Kosovo.Conclusion: The self-assessment revealed that, despite ongoing initiatives and measures to strengthen public health, the application of EPHOs has much room for improvement. We believe that decision-makers can use this method and the findings that it reveals to implement the most effective interventions to protect and promote the population’s health. In addition, the methodology and experience can be used for educational and training purposes.
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