Preventive check-up programme for strengthening people-centred primary health care services in Albania: Case study and lessons learnt
Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Albania are increasing, yet the country has a low number of outpatient visits per inhabitant per year. A primary health care (PHC) based programme of medical check-ups, with a focus on prevention, was set up in the country in 2015 aiming to address this issue, among others. This manuscript describes the development and status of the programme at key time points after its implementation, and considers some of its outcomes.
The current analysis was based on data gathered from the check-up programme information system and the registry of diseases at PHC centres, and guided by the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery.
Based on PHC registered cases, a 13% and 34% increase in the prevalence of elevated blood pres-sure and diabetes were observed in 2015 respectively, following the introduction of the check-up programme compared to the previous year. Three years after implementation, about 60% of the population aged 35–70 years old had used the programme at least once, with 61% of the total 954 667 visits provided to women.
Overall, the check-up programme in Albania has identified a substantial number of new cases of NCD as well as their associated risk factors in its population. The early detection of NCDs is expected to contribute to the prevention of complications, premature mortality and their associated costs. Albanian politicians and decision-makers should regularly revise and introduce appropriate changes to the check-up programme in the future. In particular, the issue of sustainability and long-term resource mobilization is of particular concern and warrants careful consideration.
Conflict of interests: None declared.
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