Palliative Care—Albania

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Sixty percent of cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced stages of disease and those diagnosed in early stages face challenges to receive adequate treatment. Palliative care has had significant developments in recent years in Albania because of a close partnership with the Ministry of Health, local nonprofit organizations, and the Open Society Foundation Albania. In 2011, a five-year action plan for palliative care as one of four parts of the National Cancer Control Plan was approved. At the end of 2014, the first palliative care law was approved by Parliament. Palliative care by-laws, documents, standards, clinical protocols, and guidelines for adults and children have been developed. Training and education are being provided to primary care professionals. Curricula on palliative care have been developed for the faculty of medicine, nursing high schools, and social work. About 80% of essential medications used in palliative care are available in Albania, 50% of these are paid for and have some access restrictions, and meanwhile the opiophobia still remains an enormous barrier. In the last three years, significant progress has been made in service provision. From only one public palliative care service in 2013, there are now eight palliative care services in eight of the 11 regional hospitals. By the end of 2016, it is expected that palliative care services will be available in all regional hospitals in the country.




Rama, R., Çarçani, V., Prifti, F., Huta, K., Xhixha, A., & Connor, S. R. (2018). Palliative Care—Albania. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 55(2), S14–S18.

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