Everybody in the world falls sick at some point in time, it’s an inescapable fact of life. Everyone also has a universal right to health care for themselves and their family — this, however, is where the equality ends.
While people in Western Europe can expect to live until their early 80s, the average life expectancy for a citizen of Kosovo is just 72 years, the joint-lowest on the European continent. This is in no small part down to a health system that has regularly struggled to cope since being largely decimated in the 1990s.
Much needed reforms have long been promised — and postponed — while perpetual institutional scandal and corruption have served to undermine public confidence that there is any real drive for change.
Today, for both patients and medical professionals, many aspects of Kosovo’s health system are simply not fit for purpose. The public system is underfunded, understaffed and under-equipped, leaving doctors unable to cope with fundamental patient needs, while the private system is often inefficient and prohibitively expensive for large swathes of the population.
And it is the citizens who are paying the biggest price. Forced to fundraise their care, seek out their own information on conditions affecting loved ones, or to travel abroad for essential medical interventions, even eminently treatable illnesses can turn lives upside down.
A crucial issue that impacts everyone’s quality of life, K2.0 dissects Kosovo’s health system to shed light on what citizens are really dealing with when their health is at stake.K
Feature image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.