Albania: MSF mission draws to a close

  • International staff: 4
  • National staff: 10 Most Albanians have limited access to health care because of poor medical infrastructure, ineffective use of medical resources and shortages of equipment and drugs. The health system has suffered from decades of inefficient administration and lack of funds. However, political stabilization in the country is opening the door to private investment and bilateral aid aimed at long-term development. After evaluating its role, MSF has decided to close its mission by the end of 2000. MSF has worked in Albania since 1998, and when refugees flooded the country during the Kosovo war in spring 1999, the organization also did emergency work in numerous camps. By the end of the summer of 1999, most of the hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees had returned home, and MSF's emergency intervention drew to a close. MSF continued a water and sanitation project in the Korce District in southeastern Albania, and support for the regional hospital in Fier and a polyclinic in Vlora, in the south near the Adriatic Sea. Work in Fier and Vlora focused on repairing infrastructure, procuring medical equipment, and providing medical training, and was completed in spring 2000. The water and sanitation program will finish in the fall. Elections in the Balkans in fall 2000 are a critical step toward democracy and peace in the region. MSF is monitoring the situation and is involved in emergency preparedness planning.