Together for Life, during yesterday's hearing held by the Committee for Labour, Social Affairs and Health in the Parliament of Albania, expressed the approach on the draft budget of 2024, presenting the problematic and proposing concrete issues.

TFL representative, Redina Canaku, referring to the draft budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, expressed the organization's concern about the budget foreseen for the health sector, which has decreased for the third year in a row. "Despite the nominal increase, in relation to the Gross Domestic Product, the budget for the health sector results in a decrease, Canaku emphasized. For the third year in a row, a decrease is observed from 3.5% of GDP in 2022, to 3.1% of GDP in 2023, and to 2.8% of GDP for 2024."

More than once, TFL has raised the concern that, referring to international reports, Albania results to be the last in the region for the health budgeting from the government. The budgeting of the health sector below the level of 3% of GDP is an alarm for public health services and constitutes to an increased risk especially for patients and target-groups in need, who may be deprived of the right to receive quality service.

In the Monitoring Report, prepared and published by TFL, with the support of National Endowment for Democracy, "Monitoring of health and social protection sector expenditures for 2022", a complete overview of the problem arising from the underfunding of the health sector is presented.

At the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee, TFL focused on a very sensitive issue such as the in vitro fertilization service, which continues to be a missing service in public hospitals. "Neither in the health budget report nor in the detailed draft budget for 2024 do we find any information about the cost or not of the product ‹Couples benefiting from the fertilization package› and at what point the process of preparing the legal basis is", noted TFL representative. Together for Life, for more than six years, has lobbied to health institutions for the establishment of this service in public hospitals as a measure that would help many young couples.

Deputy Ilir Pendavinji, based on the concern raised by TFL, asked the Vice Minister of Health and Social Protection, Mira Rakacolli, present at the session, to provide an accurate information on when this service would begin to be offered at the "Koço Glozheni" maternity hospital, as there are dozens of couples who were waiting for this news.

The Vice Minister informed that this is a service that has been budgeted and will start functioning soon: "In vitro fertilization is a service that is foreseen in the hospital budgets and is expected to be entirely in function within this year".

On the other hand, regarding the number of couples that will benefit, she stated that: "The professional commissions that have been established at the obstetric-gynecological university hospitals have determined the criteria that a couple must complete, in order to perform in vitro fertilization. Is currently being worked on the the detailed procedure of how this process will happen. We are at the phase where the infrastructure has been built, the equipment has been installed and the necessary medications have been purchased, and the concrete procedure is being drawn up on how it will be conducted.

TFL will closely follow the implementation of this commitment by the Ministry of Health and will continue to insist that this service be offered as soon as possible and for as many couples as possible.

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*We invite you to read the full monitoring/analytics report: "Monitoring expenditures of the healthcare and social protection sectors for 2022", supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Healthcare-and-social-protection-sectors-expenditures-monitoring-report-for-the-year-2022..pdf (