1-ALARM! 25 years of swimming in the dirt for Durres
This month, the Ministry of Health published in its official website a part of the activities and initiatives undertaken. But this is the fifth month that APPA monitors almost on a daily basis news reported by the ministry, which has never ascertained a problem that directly impacts the health of Albanian citizens. However, on 25th of May the Ministry of Health published the news related to disinfection of the beach in Durres, emphasizing that for the last 25 years the beach was never subject to such a procedure, obligatory at least twice a year, before the touristic season and after the season ending. The news sounded familiar because on May 22, the same initiative was undertaken for the city of Tirana, which means that the ministry started contributing to the election campaign that will be held soon in Albania, through its activities.
As it was expected Minister Beqaj was accompanied by the current Mayor of Durres Mr. Vangjush Dako. Mr. Dako, who is currently candidate for mayor of the city, is seeking a third mandate. As it was mentioned previously, Albania is one month away from local elections and since the electoral race has already started, it is understandable that Mr. Dako will use every opportunity to regain the votes of citizens. However, the aim of the report is not to analyze the campaign of Mr. Dako, but to hold accountable minister Beqaj. The latter instead of praising the candidate, should better ask for explanations on the conditions of the beaches in Durres, from the hygiene point of view and therefore health guarantees for citizens in Durres, as well as tourists visiting the city during holidays.
The minister is maybe being careless when he admits that the city has not conducted disinfection in 25 years as he is forgetting that the candidate for mayor, with whom he is sharing the experience, has been leading Durres for 6 years. Durres is one of the cities with the highest number of visitors during the summer holidays, while today the decrease in the number of visitors is due to the poor infrastructure in the beach area and mainly pollution, which has generated infectious diseases during the summer season.
This study would go further in conducting a comparative analysis regarding the number of tourists this city has had 10 years ago and what changes have occurred during the decade. But, neither the Municipality of Durres, nor the National Tourism Agency or any other state institution does not possess such information or published it. Therefore, APPA decided to get to the bottom of this issue by sending an official request to responsible institutions regarding these figures, which would help us understand the situation better. The number of reasons why many people are leaving the city is big, however the lack of hygiene is dominant in this decision, therefore we urge the Ministry of Health to support these initiative not only during elections, as it is the case in Albania, but to consider it a daily issue as it affects the health of citizens.
2-Is inauguration of hospital equipment turning into a norm?
The Office of Italian Cooperation for Development, has donated a fund of 800 000 Euros, in order to contribute to improving the quality of medical services in Tirana. In fact, this office, through its official website reports to have concluded an agreement with the Ministry of Finances in Albania during March of this year, with a value reaching 2.5 million Euros, whose distribution will be conducted between 14 ministries according to their needs. In the framework of this agreement the Ministry of Health has benefited 800 000 Euros. The Health Center of Specialties no. 2 in Tirana, which covers 1/3 of the population in the capital was furnished with new equipment of radiology and 2 ECHO. As it is usually the case with ministers in Albania, this event was also celebrated. It seems this phenomenon is turning into a norm for the Albanian society. A question looms in this case: Is the sole purpose of the Ministry of Health to inaugurate hospital equipment every time it has a chance?
What strikes more in this inauguration is the language used by the minister. During his presence in the Health Center no. 2 he repeated often the slogan of the candidate for mayor in Tirana, periphrasing: ‘’We continue our work in improving Primary Health Care, we are in the right direction!’’
Each of us hopes to be in the right direction, however it seems inappropriate to use personal slogans for a cause like the case in hand (local elections), even more when they are used by a minister who represents society as a whole and has a moral and legal obligation to protect every citizen, despite his/her political views. This report considers it intolerable to ue this position or even worse the use of activites of the ministry in favor of certain candidates in an electoral race.
1- Ministria e Shëndetësisë. Maj 2015. Durrës, Pas 25 vjetësh nis dezinsektimi i plazhit të Durrësit. http://www.shendetesia.gov.al/al/newsroom/deklarata-per-shtyp/durres-pas-25-vjetesh-nis-dezinsektimi-i-plazhit-te-durresit
2- Cooperazione Italiana allo Sviluppo. Mars 2015. Albania-Italia: Programma di conversione del debito, aggiudicati 6 progetti për un totale di 2,5 milioni di euro. http://www.cooperazioneallosviluppo.esteri.it/pdgcs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12393:28-05-2015-albania-italia-programma-di-conversione-del-debito-aggiudicati-6-progetti-per-un-totale-di-2-5-milioni-di-euro&catid=8:news&Itemid=515
3- Ministria e Shëndetësisë. Maj 2015. Përurohen pajisjet e reja në Poliklinikën e Specialiteteve nr. 2 në Tiranë.http://www.shendetesia.gov.al/al/newsroom/deklarata-per-shtyp/perurohen-pajisjet-e-reja-ne-polikliniken-e-specialiteteve-nr-2-ne-tirane