Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program (ITeHP) of Albania
The development and implementation of telemedicine in Albania is well underway. Through collaboration with the Albanian Ministry of Health (MOH), Mother Theresa Hospital and financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation (IVeH) has created a robust telemedicine system that links sites throughout Albania for health and medical education. IVeH received a grant from USAID in September 2009 to build the National Telemedicine Center (NTC) in Tirana and link it to regional telemedicine centers (RTCs) in Durrës, Shkodër, Kukës, Vlorë, and Korcë. In September 2011, the NTC was official opened by officials of the Albanian and US governments.
The grand opening was the pinnacle event of the first phase, which USAID had funded in the amount of $750,000. The NTC is linked to the RTCs, which have been renovated through a partnership with the United States Army’s European Command’s Army Corp of Engineers. Each RTC is equipped with resident staff, expertise, and telemedicine equipment. They are each linked to the NTC, which is managed by IVeH personnel led by Dr. Erion Dasho through a robust telecommunications network. The entire program is under the direction of Dr. Rifat Latifi.
IVeH completed Phase 1 in the fall of 2011 and was successful in obtaining a second round of funding ($500,000) to support the development of a Teletrauma Program for the Albania. In addition, the NTC and IVeH are working closely with the MOH on an activity to develop a telemedicine system to support Family Medicine throughout Albania.
The establishment of the Telemedicine Program of Albania is part of a wider telemedicine network in the Balkans, and is based on IVeH’s proven ‘Initiate-, Build-, Operate-, Transfer- (IBOT)’ strategy. Dr. Latifi states “IBOT is a great strategy to help build modern health capacities in developing countries like Albania and other countries around the world.”