Each newborn baby and the new mothers in the coastal town of Saranda and not only will both benefit from the significantly improved maternity care services, quality and environment at the newly refurbished maternity hospital in Saranda, a state budget investment worth of 336 million lek to provide care to around 140 000 citizens in four municipalities of Sarande, Konispol, Delvine and Finiq. Now featuring a health care infrastructure up to European standards and equipped with the state-of-the-art technology and equipment, the new maternity hospital is part of the hospital corpus in Saranda, which, along with the construction of the surgical and pathology wards, provide for a new standard of health care service at the Saranda municipal hospital.
Prime Minister Edi Rama visited the new maternity hospital in Saranda, where the first four babies are delivered. Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu said in her remarks that investment in building new maternity hospital was a must as the old hospital building had completely decayed and failed to provide no minimal environment for provision of healthcare services for mothers and newborn infants. Meanwhile, work is underway to fully equip the surgical and pathology wards within the hospital corpus. “We have invested in Saranda’s municipal hospital and the new maternity hospital. The hospital was once located at the heart of the town of Saranda, but it was a completely decayed building. A new hospital has now been built in a state-budget investment worth of 336 million lek launched in 2017, including its equipment. Meanwhile, we are providing equipment for the pathology and surgical wards in another project designed to complete the whole Saranda hospital corpus.”
Praising the newly-built maternity hospital a model for the maternity care service, Health Minister Manastirliu announced that a series of investment projects in the maternity hospitals and wards across the country will be implemented under the 2019 state budget for the health sector. “Under the 2019 budget we have planned to start reconstruction and construction of maternity hospitals in Berat, Lezha and we will also finalize projects on construction of two other maternity hospitals, namely in Pogradec and Kukës. First phase of works to construct Kukes maternity hospital is already underway,” Minister Manastirliu said.
Apart from investing in hospital infrastructure, special attention has been attached to investment in technology. Doctors and nurses say that new environment and improved health care quality significantly favour them in their profession and efforts to provide best health care services, saying such conditions were not provided in the old maternity hospital. “I have been working for 15 years in Greece. I attended specializing and post-graduate program in medicine there and I work here for six years now. I used to work in the old hospital too. The work in the new hospital is unmatchable,” the neonatologist said.
To Health Minister Manastirliu, the new standards due to be set in each hospital centre across the country are also an investment aimed at creating the suitable environment for doctors and nurses. “Much better working conditions and environment are provided to doctors now. This is one of the investments we have embarked on with the aim of luring doctors and convince them stay here in Albania, as the working conditions are increasingly changing, the government’s salaries policy is changing too. The bonus and financial incentives are some of the elements in our plan to make physicians stay in Albania.”
One of the doctors said that all health care services and surgical interventions performed in Tirana’s University Hospital Centre are also performed in Saranda’s municipal hospital. Yet, the hospital still faces the lack of intensive care physicians or intensivists. Minister Manastirliu said that a series of incentives have been launched by the government to address this issue and support doctors who contribute here in their homeland, highlighting the bonus provided to doctors working in regional hospitals, the patronizing programme and 300 specialist physicians due to be graduated in January.
The Premier also emphasized that the government will increase its support for the medical staff. “”In January, the first batch of 300 specialists will be graduated following a4-year vacuum, as no specialization was made and we will immediately fill the vacuum created over the years. Another hike in the salary of nurses, doctors and entire health sector workers will be materialized. I believe that compared to where we start, we have moved ahead significantly, but compared to where we want to go, we still have a lot to do. But you know, kids grow slowly, and not at once.”
The new hospital infrastructure includes the construction of a new helipad on the rooftop of new of surgical and pathology hospital building, which will provide for airlifting of patients to university hospitals for a more specialized health care service.
At a meeting with new mothers, PM Edi Rama informed them about the government’s latest initiative on the so-called baby bonus, saying that the baby cash gift will increase to $400 for the first child, double to $800 for the second and treble to $1200 for the third or more children.