Two Kosovo Hospitals Awarded Membership to International Network

In March 2024, the General Hospitals of Peja and Gjakova, two large regions in Kosovo, became members of the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals. Certificates that were awarded to the hospitals’ directors, acknowledged the joint institutional dedication to adopting a patient-centred approach, among fulfilling other standards. The membership to this network also offers access to international knowledge base and exchange opportunities. This development signifies an important shift in the country’s healthcare landscape.

The Health Promoting Hospitals (HPH) approach, set to reshape Kosovo’s healthcare landscape, prioritizes patient wellbeing through education, prevention, integrated healthcare, evidence-based practices, and community engagement. It brings sustainable change in healthcare delivery by empowering patients to self-manage their health. 

In March, two general hospitals in Kosovo, Peja and Gjakova, received the membership certificates from the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services. Apart from beginning collaboration with health institutions worldwide and raising the level of service provision, the certificates demonstrate that certain processes and standards were followed and met.    

The rigorous process of self-assessment and establishing of standards that led the general hospitals of Peja and Gjakova to be awarded HPH network membership started in July 2023 with the establishment of a Working Group co-chaired by the Kosovo Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health. The working group developed a hospital program based on the 2020 Hospital Health Promotion Standards, in full alignment with Kosovo’s National Action Plan for Health Education and Health Promotion and the country’s specific needs.

Central to this work were the baseline assessments at each hospital to identify key areas and priorities to serve as basis for the strategies to integrate health education into the practice and workflow of care, develop training programs for hospital staff, and establish monitoring and evaluating mechanisms. 

As non-communicable diseases require patient contribution and engagement – that is no less important than the medical protocols for their treatment – this approach increases the efficiency of every medical protocol that is implemented. Hence, the HPH approach is paving the way towards a new mindset in healthcare delivery. 

Speaking at the certificate award ceremony, Dr. Naim Bardiqi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health of Kosovo, considered membership to the HPH international network a significant milestone.

“This achievement is proof of the efforts and dedication of the hospital's management and staff with a focus on patients, thus bringing the hospital to new levels in the provision of health services,” Dr. Bardiqi stated.

Dr. Bardiqi emphasized the transformative impact the HPH journey and its several dimensions, such as quality improvement projects identified for both hospitals, further strengthening of the capacities of health workers, their active involvement in the design and implementation of action plans and health education, and other initiatives for digitalization of patient records, regulation of patient flow, and patient surveys

“The Ministry of Health pledges to continuously support new and innovative initiatives that pave the way for the development and implementation of self-care programs for patients with hypertension and diabetes. By empowering the patient to take control of their own health and well-being, we are not only improving their quality of life, but reducing the burden on our healthcare system,” stated Dr. Bardiqi at the ceremony.

Ultimately, the membership of the General Hospitals of Peja and Gjakova in the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals marks a significant stride towards inspiring a healthier future for all in Kosovo.

Facilitated through the Integrated Health Services project in collaboration with OptiMedis AG and their experts, the HPH approach feeds into the Ministry’s strategic objectives with a special focus on non-communicable diseases, particularly diabetes and hypertension.

The IHS project is a joint, 4-year initiative between the Kosovo Ministry of Health and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, facilitated by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.