Exposing malpractices of public institutions in Kosovo’s health sector

Posted on
Kosovo
March 1, 2021 – February 28, 2022

BIRN Kosovo

The project intends to address issues that have arisen with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, akin the limited capacity of hospitals, corruption growth and the spread of fake news. This will be achieved through identifying, fact-checking and reporting investments in the health sector, accurately reporting from the hospitals, monitoring and reporting on public and private laboratories and reporting of the wrongdoings in the overall health sector in Kosovo.

Summary:

Although Kosovo’s health sector has improved significantly in the last decade, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that there are still loads of challenges in the health sector in Kosovo. The number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing day by day and the situation has not been stable in Kosovo ever since the beginning of the pandemic. A major concern besides the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in Kosovo remain the high number of infected medical workers, high prices for PCR testing in private laboratories, high number of people in need for testing yet insufficient tests at the Kosovo National Institute for Public Health, amongst others. Since March 2020, Kosovo recorded the highest number of daily and active COVID-19 cases in November of 2020 [1]and has continued so until present date. Hospitals are reported on daily basis to be out of capacity and healthcare workers have been rapidly infected with the virus hence, pressuring Kosovo’s healthcare system.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has left space for corruption to grow. Since the beginning of the pandemic, corrupt practices have been seen in policymaking, overall governance, education and health sector, management of health funds and procurement practices.[2] Practices of corruption leave the most affected communities behind, i.e., the impoverished and vulnerable people who do not have full access to e.g., health and medical facilities and equipment. It is widely known that the major areas of corruption during the health crisis, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, include procurement, service delivery in the health sector, emergency funds and policymaking. [3]

Additionally, in the last ten months of COVID-19 pandemic, the media has been heavily invested in news and reports on the pandemic and being safe in a health crisis. Having consistent access to the latest information on COVID-19 on the internet is just as harmful as beneficial. That is, many media around the world, including Kosovo have used the opportunity to produce misinformation and fake news for their personal, financial interests. Not only is misinformation on a health crisis unethical and panicking but news on (traditional) remedies to cure the virus have even worsened the situation.[4]

Taking into consideration these issues, BIRN Kosovo, through this project, will address the above mentioned issues through fact-checking of investments in the health sector, accurately reporting from the hospitals, monitoring and reporting on public and private laboratories and reporting of the wrongdoings in the overall health sector in Kosovo.

Donor:

Balkan Trust for Democracy

Main Objective:

The overall objective of the action is to contribute to the development of a more accountable and transparent public health sector in Kosovo through monitoring, fact checking and reporting on developments related to the COVID-19 in the health sector.

Specific Objectives:

Specific objective 1: Accountable and transparent public health sector;

Specific objective 2: Increased reliable and accurate information, and

Specific objective 3: Responsive health and other state institutions.

Main Activities:

  1. Produce and broadcast ten (10) televised investigations on BIRN Kosovo’s programs;
  2. Draft and publish at least ten (10) articles yielding directly from the abovementioned televised investigations;
  3. Draft and submit at least ten (10) legal letters as a follow-up of the treated above mentioned cases to relevant institutions.

Target Groups:

  • Youth, young adults and middle-aged people;
  • Elderly;
  • Public authorities/institutions;
  • Health institutions;
  • Minority communities.

Main implementer:

BIRN Kosovo

Partners:

N/A

[1] https://www.oecd.org/south-east-europe/COVID-19-Crisis-in-Kosovo.pdf

[2] https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/gpn-governance-Transparency_Accountability_and_Anti-Corruption_Service_Offer_for_COVID-19.pdf

[3] https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/gpn-governance-Transparency_Accountability_and_Anti-Corruption_Service_Offer_for_COVID-19.pdf

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01834-3