USAID's Conference on the project “Transparency in Health System”

11.07.2019

Since March 2017, the United States Agency for International Development USAID through the project on “Transparency in Health System” has provided technical assistance to three independent central government institutions and several civil society organizations and media to identify corruption in the health system. Working with the Supreme State Audit (ALSAI), the People's Advocate Institution and the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflicts of Interest (HIDAACI), the project generated data through performance audits, asset reporting and investigations complaints in order to promote transparency mechanisms and the commitment of citizens more effectively in the fight against corruption in health.

On July 9, in Tirana, was held a conference of this project that USAID developed for two and a half years with these three independent institutions (ALSAI, HIDAACI and the People's Advocate Institution ) in cooperation with Civil Society Organizations working in the health sector.

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The activity was opened by Mrs. Ornela Palushaj, Director of this project, which appreciated the role of the three Independent Institutions and their cooperation for the successful realization of the project. This project is focused on the health system due to the citizens' sensitivity to the health service and the corruptive problems that this system has.

On behalf of USAID Albania, Ms. Mikaela Meredith, Director, said the United States Government is very proud of this project. “ This project is over, but the work will continue. I want to encourage a continuous cooperative dialogue between oversight institutions, civil society organizations and the media. All of this brings together the goal of improving government transparency, strengthening the principles of good governance and protecting public resources from abuse,” she underlined.

Then Mrs. Erinda Ballanca, the Ombudsman, emphasized in her speech the value of the project for the institution that she leads.

In his speech, Mr. Bujar Leskaj, Chairman of ALSAI, spoke on the fact that the project that was funded by USAID on "Transparency in Health System" 2017-2019 was proposed and conducted at the time the ALSAI was working on the institutions Communication Strategy 2017-2019 and was in line with the objectives of this strategy, as well as with the modernization processes of the ALSAI.

This project was in full synergy with some other transparency initiatives of information to the general public that the institution had undertaken but the specifics of this project consist on three main aspects:

a) The diversification of instruments to increase transparency;

b) The real and concrete partnership with USAID;

c) The typology of products (outputs) in line with the digitalization processes of ALSAI.

Furthermore, the health sector in the focus of the project, is an important sector with direct effects on the quality of life of the Albanian citizen.

It is a fact that the technical assistance of this project has influenced not only in the improvement of performance audits in the health sector but mainly the expansion of the resonance and impact of audit work to stakeholders and mainly to civil society . Over the past two years, ALSAI has developed performance audits in the Albanian Emergency Medical System, Costs in Hospital Care Services and Electronic Medical Prescriptions, in addition to the audit of the Compulsory Health Care Insurance Fund.

Then Mr. Leskaj focused on the other aspect of this project, in that of increasing transparency, emphasizing that “ Increased citizen access to information, introduction of some technological solutions to the complaints system from citizens, and the effective use of open data and red alert indicators for high risk areas for corruption have been concrete instruments developed through this project, which have helped to increase transparency in all three dimensions by being more open and communicative with all stakeholders and more accountable to the citizen”.

On behalf of HIDAACI greeted Mr. Flori Karaj, who emphasized USAID's contribution to the realization of the institutional priority to improve the financial management and control system and conflict of interest of elected persons and some public officials.

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The purpose of the project (March 2017 - July 2019) was to create a more responsible environment in health system by increasing the oversight role of independent institutions and engaging the beneficiaries, civil society and citizens.

The conference was accompanied by discussions from the attendees and were distributed the evaluation certificates from USAID. For the contribution of the ALSAI in this project, the certificate was delivered to the Chairman, Mr. Bujar Leskaj.