SIG on SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
The political and economic crisis arising after the collapse of the communist regime has had long-standing effects on South-Eastern European health systems. The region has been facing under-investment, low skill levels and poor salaries . Low wages have led to a brain drain phenomenon resulting in workforce shortages. Progressive privatisation and spending cuts have deteriorated healthcare quality, leading to a lack of equipment and medical supplies in certain countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact and South-Eastern Europe countries experienced difficulties to face the rapid increases in infections due to limited infrastructure and testing capacity, insufficient beds, low vaccination uptake, and workforce shortages .
VISION: To discuss the needs, identify strengths, opportunities and solutions to the challenges faced by the healthcare systems of South-Eastern Europe
CHAIR: Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University Varna, Bulgaria
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a tradition for EHMA and I am pleased to see for the first time one focusing on South-Eastern European and Balkan countries. Through the work of this group we can have a good picture of what is the situation for health management in our region. We can have a platform to meet and share good practices in our respective countries; learn about our health systems functioning and how to manage hospitals more effectively. We can discuss ways for health managers to share information and good practices. As this is just the first year of activity of this group, I look forward to what we can achieve together.
– Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University Varna, Bulgaria
WHERE POSITIVE IMPACT COULD OCCUR
While some reforms have been introduced in South-Eastern Europe, the region still faces considerable challenges when it comes to meeting population health needs, payment models, health service delivery, health workforce availability and equal access to healthcare. Through this Special Interest Group, EHMA wants to offer the expertise of its members and network in support of efforts directed to strengthen health systems in the region. The SIG will gather case studies for reverse innovation to the European continent. Additionally, EHMA members can learn more about the health system challenges and opportunities existing in a region that does often not receive sufficient coverage and attention.
Health Management in South-Eastern Europe
The SIG SEE aims to strengthen health management capacity to create more resilient health systems that deliver excellent quality care and improve health outcomes for the region’s citizens. As a first step in this work, the SIG SEE requires a strong understanding of the issues faced by health managers across the region. This paper aims to provide this understanding through a comprehensive literature review covering the current health management challenges present in each country in the region. Rather than presenting data and statistics on health systems and health outcomes, which is already widely available through national government sources and organisations like the World Health Organization, this review will focus specifically on outlining the landscape for each country specifically from the health management perspective, including workforce, policy and economic considerations.
The SIG on SEE was founded in June 2021. In its first year of activity the group has worked on:
- Agreeing on scope, strategy, activities, and outcomes.
- Identifying, engage and on-board new members.
- Identifying strengths, needs and opportunities of healthcare systems in South-Eastern Europe.
- A white paper providing a comprehensive overview of the region’s health systems from a health management and strengths-based perspective.
- Identifying and share best practices and case-studies from the region.
Members participation is limited to professionals from the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia.
Participants in the SIG are not required to be an EHMA member to join the group. Participation is undertaken on a voluntary basis. SIG activities will not be renumerated.