USAID Transparency in Health Engagement Project Commits to Fighting Corruption in Albania

Despite recent initiatives to reduce corruption and increase government accountability in Albania, significant problems persist throughout the country with detrimental impacts on the health of the Albanian people. Corruption is a persistent problem that has been normalized within the country. In the health sector, the quality of services remains low with facilities offering a limited scope and quality of care for the community.

On October 3, 2017, the Transparency in Health Engagement (THE) Project, implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC), signed memorandums of understanding with Albanian institutions including the High State Audit, the High Inspectorate for Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interest, and the Office of the Ombudsman. Nearly 40 participants including Dr. Catherine Johnson, USAID/Albania Country Representative; Ms. Erinda Ballanca, Office of the Ombudsman; Mr. Bujar Leskaj, Chairman, Albania High State Audit; and representatives from government oversight agencies, Ministry of Health, Council of Europe, media, civil society, and USAID attended the event.

THE Project Chief of Party, Ms. Darcie Nielsen, highlighted the project goal to improve health services for Albanian citizens by fighting corruption and improving transparency of government functions. The project will focus on encouraging cooperation among independent government agencies, civil society organizations, and the media to advocate for more responsible governance practices in the health sector.

USAID/Albania Country Representative, Dr. Catherine Johnson, acknowledged mutual efforts to improve governance of Albania’s health system emphasizing USAID support to the Albanian government for greater accountability, transparency, and citizen responsiveness to improve access to appropriate and high-quality healthcare.

Government Ombudsperson, Ms. Erinda Ballanca, underscored the right to quality health services as one of the most important elements that transforms a state into a citizen state. She highlighted her role as Ombudsperson to fight corruption and thanked USAID for supporting the Government of Albania improve governance and increase transparency within the health system.

Mr. Bujar Leskaj, Chairman, Albania High State Audit thanked USAID for continuous support to strengthen the capacity of government oversight agencies and confirmed the commitment of his institution to address corrupt practices and improve transparency.

USAID Contract Officer Representative, Dr. Agim Koçiraj, concluded the event emphasizing a shared goal to improve inter-institutional coordination and enhanced cooperation with civil society and the media. Only by increasing awareness of the magnitude of corruption within the health sector and addressing the needed reforms, can the quality, access, and delivery of health care be improved for the Albanian people.

Children at a makeshift shelter in Tirana, Albania. © 2010 Brilanta Kadillari, Courtesy of Photoshare
Children at a makeshift shelter in Tirana, Albania. © 2010 Brilanta Kadillari, Courtesy of Photoshare
October 16, 2017
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