The initial workforce capacity included the following numbers of specialized physicians:
• Infectious Disease Specialists: 54
• Intensive Care Specialists: 135
• Pneumologists: 82
• Epidemiologists: 60
• Virologists: 7
In terms of the availability of human resources in Albania’s health sector, the major concern is the shortage of physicians, encompassing both general practitioners/family doctors and specialists. At present, there is a gap of about 330 GPs and 250 specialist doctors (http://www.hap.org.al/en/).
Measures are being taken to increase or maintain the availability of health workers (Order No. 174 of the Minister of Health and Social Protection of 15 March 2020: "On the appointment of the coordinator responsible for organizing the intensive care service in the context of the treatment of COVID-19"). These include bringing health workers back from retirement, mobilizing them from various medical fields, and engaging students and residents (Order No. 175 of the Minister of Health and Social Protection of 15 March 2020: "On the appointment of the coordinator responsible for the administration of medical, nursing and volunteer personnel in the health system for the treatment of COVID - 19").
Each coordinator is charged with taking immediate measures to organize the training of existing and voluntary medical and nursing staff, organizing the work for the establishment of a technical team, and – together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection – drafting a plan for the distribution of human resources and coordinating the distribution of trained medical and nursing staff (https://shendetesia.gov.al/thirrje-per-vullnetar-dua-te-kontribuoj-covid-19/).
The training of health workers is based on the Joint Order No. 180 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the University of Medicine of 16 March 2020: "On the organization of training of medical and nursing staff".
Additional financial incentives are provided for health workers involved in the response to COVID-19. According to Decision No. 207 of the Council of Ministers of 10 March 2020: "On financial incentives for staff, doctors, nurses and other employees", a monthly reward of ALL 125,000 is being given to medical staff, public health specialists dealing with epidemiology, nurses and laboratory service specialists engaged in the diagnosis and medical treatment of persons with a COVID-19 infection. In addition, a monthly reward of ALL 65,000 is given to support staff engaged in the institutions where the persons affected by COVID-19 are treated. The reward will also be given to doctors and nurses who have retired and would like to provide health care for the treatment of people affected by COVID-19.
No specific measures are being taken to provide psychosocial or other occupational health support for health workers.