3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
Measures have been implemented to reconfigure service delivery in an effort to increase treatment capacity. Elective procedures are deferred, and capacities at the two hospitals designated for COVID are freed from other medical services which have been transferred to other public hospitals (general surgery and urology to the Trauma Hospital, and TB to the Elbasan Regional Hospital). There is no evidence (positive or negative) of the implications of these efforts.
The COVID-19 designated hospitals that are meant to deal exclusively with COVID-19 patients are the Infectious Disease Services at the University Hospital Centre “Mother Tereza” (120 beds), named Hospital COVID 1, and the University Hospital “Shefqet Ndroqi” (193 beds), named Hospital COVID 2.
The role of primary care providers with regard to COVID-19 cases consists of:
• Supporting the surveillance teams in case detection and contact tracing.
• Responding on the phone to questions and concerns of people who are in their jurisdiction. Give advice, support and medical assistance as needed.
• Following up with isolated and quarantined individuals; make sure they follow the medical advice and make sure they are transferred on time to COVID hospitals by the Medical Emergency Service, in case of a deterioration of their condition.
• Following up with convalescent/recovered cases after they are discharged from the hospital.
There is an increased availability of video, telephone or other alternative consultations for health services, including TeleMedicine Platform, E-referral, and E-prescription.
Measures to ensure additional inpatient capacities for COVID-19 cases include the following:
• Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 244 of 26 March 2020: "On the placement at the disposal of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the building of the former "Crystal" University”
• Normative Act No. 3 of 15 March 2020 “On special administrative measures during the COVID-19 infection period: Depending on the dynamics of hospitalization of people affected by COVID-19 infection, private hospitals, outpatient services, accommodation facilities, auto-ambulances and relevant health and support staff shall be made available to MoHSP for facing COVID -19, upon the Order of the Minister responsible for health”.
Measures were also taken to prohibit the export of medicines and medical equipment from the Republic of Albania. Permission to export medicines and medical equipment is granted only by authorization from the Minister of Health and Social Protection (Order of the Minister of Health and Social Protection No. 131 of 8 March 2020: “On the prohibition of the export of medicines and medical equipment”).