Cervical Cancer Screening Program – pilot in the Municipality of Prishtina

When identified the need in the first phase of the Cervical Cancer Screening Project (see below), in 2016 the screening program received the support of the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA Office in Kosovo, and the Organization World Health Organization Office in Kosovo, to implement the screening program with the PAP test method, provided at the primary health care level, in the Municipality of Prishtina.

This project aimed piloting the cervical cancer screening within 3 Family Medicine Centers in Prishtina, and carrying out screening in approximately 2,000 women in this municipality, and developing the action plan for the municipality to make human and financial planning to build the screening program at the national level. Prishtina also served as a model for advocating the screening systems in other municipalities in Kosovo.

In 2016, this pilot project enabled for the first time the implementation of screening program at primary health care level and regulation of cooperation with the level of tertiary care, or the Institute of Pathological Anatomy at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo. With the dedication of the medical staff at the primary level, the project has enabled the training of 7 family medicine specialists in Prishtina to perform the Pap tests.

The successful realization of the project was made possible thanks to the cooperation between the Municipal Directorate for Health and Social Welfare of the Municipality of Prishtina, the National Board for Cancer Control, the Ministry of Health, the Main Family Medicine Center in Prishtina, the Institute of Pathology Anatomy of the Clinical Center University of Kosovo, United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, World Health Organization – WHO, 700 for Science Foundation and Action for Mother and Children Initiative.

Being one of the priorities of the National Cancer Control Board and due to the commitment of the Municipal Directorate for Health and Social Welfare of the Municipality of Prishtina, the screening program continued successfully in the Municipality of Prishtina in 2017.

The results so far, including 2016 and 2017, includes about 3,500 PAP tests performed free of charge to women aged 21-65 years.

The long-term goal of the program is to broaden the screening capability at the national level, including distant municipalities, where women have limited access to health services.

FACT: Screening programs can reduce incidence and mortality from cervical cancer by up to 80%.

Cervical Cancer Screening Program – first phase

We have established a Cervical Cancer screening program for Kosovar women, in partnership with the American Hospital in Kosovo and 700 for Science Foundation since October 2014.

The screening has been done through a new methodology – the liquid based cytology – for approximately 700 women aged 28-65 years. Liquid-based cytology method for cervical cancer screening has been proven to be more effective in cancer detection due to improvements in sample quality, sensitivity, specificity, and ability to perform reflex molecular testing. In sum, performing pap test via liquid based cytology improves the specificity of test results.

Project Objectives:

  1. Research objectives on cervical cancer for women in Kosovo
  2. Humanitarian objectives on providing an opportunity for Kosovo women for cervical cancer screening through a modern methodology – liquid based cytology

FACT: Approximatley 700 women have been examined for cervical cancer during the first phase of the project conducted October 2014-December 2015.

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Needs Assessment Research Program for KoSana Health Dialogue

We are conducting a research for women giving birth and newborns, assessing the C-section trend among Kosovar women and performing an analysis of the costs during pregnancy and the expenses preparing for the baby’s arrival.

Our research will help the Health Dialogue program KoSana, of Solidar Suisse, which will be used to support health insurance scheme reforms for mothers in Kosovo.

At the end the program will report:

  1. An assessment on decision-making process for the delivery mode; a comparison of birth expenses based on delivery mode; and costs and expenses during pregnancy and while preparing for the baby’s arrival.
  2. An assessment of the routine care of screening methods and procedures prior to the pregnancy as well as essential medicine, equipment, and ante-natal care for newborns and women.
  3. Inventory of studies conducted for women and the care of newborns in Kosovo. This objective aims at collecting all the studies conducted for women and the care of newborns from different institutions in Kosovo and conduct data analysis.

Professional Line Services Program

The main purpose of this project is to support establishment of the lines of services on mother and child health as a model for other lines of services. Considering that lines of services are a new topic in the Health System it is obvious that this area needs support, recommendations and interventions, as well as performance studies for all three levels of health care services (primary, secondary and tertiary) with the main purpose of improving health care reform.

AMC, in partnership with UNFPA, during 2014 has conducted a research on providing initial support to the Ministry of Health to develop the Integrated Professional Service Line for Gynecology, Obstetrics and Neonatology Professional Services, ultimately leading towards a better health care delivery management system for mothers and children.

Our 2014 program developed a concept note on setting up the Board for Gynecology, Obstetrics and Neonatology Professional Services (GONPS), researched human capacities to implement the new reform and conducted hospital performance studies on inventory. The final report developed policy briefs to be used as a vehicle to support the line services establishment in Kosovo.

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Technical Support to Ministry of Health

The external assistance project was intended to first and foremost offer the officials at of the Ministry of Health an outside view and advice on the issues of priority identified by them. In addition, the advisory group also assisted in narrowing down and focusing these priorities in their scope not only for internal audience but also for the donor community involved in this sector. Upon the request of the Officials at the Ministry of Health members of the Advisory group were available for meetings where these issues were discussed and elaborated. The group also held regular meetings to discuss and identify issues to be presented to the Ministry of Health officials. In addition members of the advisory group, upon request of the officials from the Ministry of Health participated in several conferences and group discussions related to health sector in Kosovo. As a result of these discussions, members of the advisory group developed strategies and approaches to tackle some issues of interest. The plans are to continue in two key directions:

  • Advice on immediate matters – This included direct advise/support in: issues the Ministry has with regards to policy making, and strategic steps that could improve systems and outcomes. The partnership with AUK provided the team of experts and an external advisory panel that helped the Ministry to think strategically about different issues of interest for the Ministry.
  • Donor coordination and project development – In addition, the partnership has been involved directly in development of programs for the Ministry and on behalf of the Ministry. The support has included the development of concrete proposals based on the needs of the system as well as direct advice and coordination with potential donors.

Studies in cooperation with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

With the purpose of assessing the healthcare situation of mothers and children in Kosovo, including identifying potential challenges in order to improve healthcare.

In 2010 the Caritas Luxembourg Foundation drafted a strategy for 2011-2013 covering income generation, education and health sector in the municipalities of Ferizaj, Gjilan, Hani i Elezit, Kacanik, Viti and Kllokot. The aim of this project was to collect information on health care needs of the people in South-Eastern part of Kosova municipalities.

The study focused on the following questions/topics:
a) Description of the general situation concerning health in the above mentioned municipalities including infrastructure, personnel and other facilities;
b) Description of the actual situation in the issues mentioned in these municipalities in terms of infrastructure, personnel, other facilities;
c) Provision of professional advice whether FCL shall indeed intervene in the mentioned issues;
d) Identification of needs in the mentioned issues;
e) Proposals for how to intervene; and
f) Recommendation for potential implementing partners.

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Good News

Every day, 20-25 babies are saved at NICU by using the Oxygen System, made possible through Action for Mothers and Children and its many business and individual donors. Oxygen System is used by babies who cannot breathe on their own and need extra oxygen.