Healthcare provision in Kosovo is poor. While a reform of the system has been initiated, neither patients nor healthcare professionals have been involved. The KoSana project aims to remedy the situation.

In theory, Kosovo provides free healthcare. In a system established by Yugoslavia, however, medicines are scarce in many healthcare facilities. Most patients have to pay for their medication. Many treatments are unavailable, or only received after long waiting periods, which the right kind of 'grease' may sometimes help to shorten. However, few patients can afford to seek private treatment, let alone go abroad for medical care.

The government has acknowledged these problems and is planning to reform the system. The centrepiece of the reform is the introduction of compulsory health insurance for all. In spring 2014, the parliament passed relevant legislation for a complete overhaul of the country's public health system.

However, according to a survey commissioned by Solidar Suisse in 2012, healthcare professionals, patient associations and the wider public know few details of the government's reform plans. The plans cannot succeed without the participation of civil society organisations. Therefore, Solidar Suisse's Kosovo project, KoSana, has been supporting patient associations and unions of healthcare professionals.

KoSana supports partner organisations including the National Autism and Diabetes Associations of Kosova, Kosovo's Action for Mothers and Children and unions of healthcare professionals. Together they have compiled and processed reliable data and information, drawn up clear and detailed recommendations for the proposed health insurance, and engaged in lobbying activities. A substantial ammount of valuable information has been processed on a wide range of patient groups and treatments, earning the KoSana partner organisations much respect from a government whose progress towards the new health insurance has been hindered by lack of information.

Photo: Vedat Xhymshiti, for Solidar Suisse

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