Kosovo’s healthcare sector has been the target of significant international funding from the World Bank and other sources, and the people of Kosovo are extremely grateful, according to Bujar Bukoshi, Minister of Health. While many challenges remain, much progress has been made. For example, Kosovo’s Ministry of Health has developed a master plan for the healthcare sector in partnership with the World Bank and has launched a pilot health information system project in two regions, whose health services have received millions of euros in international financial support.
The minister adds that the healthcare sector still needs significant funding to overcome its many challenges, which include the fact that around 30% of Kosovo’s health services were destroyed during the war. Bujar Bukoshi says, “Reactivating the healthcare system after the war in 1999 was a major achievement in itself. But now, when people in our country have to go abroad to get health treatments, it creates a significant problem for Kosovo. I am not asking international donors and investors for a huge investment but rather a little help and partnerships. Even a small investment in a new country like Kosovo can make a big difference and bring big returns.”
Urgent need for health insurance
One challenge the health system faces is that Kosovo is the only country in the region which has no health insurance. “We now have a tax based health payment system and we want to move to a mixed model. We really want to launch health insurance here,” Bujar Bukoshi says.
The minister points out that in spite of the many obstacles it faces, Kosovo offers a number of advantages for international investors, including the fact that investors in the healthcare sector can count on a regulatory environment that creates a level playing field between the private and public sectors and between local and international enterprises. Bujar Bukoshi says, “We have a young population here in Kosovo and we are energetic and willing to learn and change. Even when economic indicators are poor, Kosovo offers a vibrant business environment.”
International investors have already begun to launch healthcare projects in Kosovo, including investors from Turkey and Austria. The minister concludes, “These investors and local ones are building new hospitals, and through this they are not only upgrading our healthcare services but also creating employment opportunities and improving quality of life here in Kosovo.”