Life was hard for Violeta and her family in their little village Kabash, two hours drive from the town of Puka. Everything was in a hard-to reach distance; the health clinic, the hospital, the Administrative Unit. With tear-filled eyes she remembers one time when her little daughter collapsed and hardly regained conscious with no nearby hospital to take her to. Days after, she sadly learned that both her daughters were born with mental health issues and congenital heart disease. Both needed specialized medical care-which was accessible only in town. Violeta’s husband was for years, diagnosed with asthma — making it difficult for him to provide for the family. They hardly made a living through cultivating the soil and growing crops. Being left with no other way out, Violeta’s family moved to the town of Puka to be closer to health facilities so that both her daughters and husband could access medical care services.
How do communities receive assistance?
Health stands at the foundation of a person’s well-being. Good health enables people to work and participate fully in their communities and support themselves financially. Statistics point to the fact that poor health reduces people’s employment prospects and working hours and increases the likelihood of early retirement and falling into poverty at an old age.
In the context of the United Nations Joint SDG Fund Programme “Improving Municipal Social Protection Service Delivery” funded by the Sustainable Development Goals Global Fund, UNDP in partnership with Puka Municipality and “Youth Movement for Democracy “ — a civil society operating in the region, is piloting a model of integrated social care and health services. This intervention is boosting access to mobile health and psycho-social services for children with disabilities living in the remote areas of Puka. Services offered include home physiotherapy, speech therapy and psycho social services. In parallel, the project implements capacity building interventions targeting health and psycho-social workers at local level focusing on how to administer integrated services and work in multidisciplinary teams.
Violeta was so happy when she learned of these services offered in Puka and soon her family became one of the beneficiaries. Initially a social and economic needs assessment was done for each member of her family including an assessment of the health and medical needs.
Her daughters were supported to follow school regularly and were donated technological equipment to help improve their studies and encourage further learning. Moreover, the family was assisted to get disability living allowance and assistance from the social care basket of services.
Thanks to the programme, about 700 people across Albania have benefited from pilot integrated social and health care services. Previously this service was totally missing.
“Integrated health and social services represent an innovative approach to service delivery at the local level, targeting population at risk of being left behind. These services should be based on a well-defined and unified understanding of the role of each actor by referring to available instructions in identifying and managing individual and group cases. The development of guidelines and protocols for integrated health and social services should be a priority. Tailoring services to the needs of vulnerable population is vital” Limya Eltayeb, UNDP Resident Representative
Leave no one behind is the moral principle of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. Violeta’s daughters and hundreds of other people are seeing the Goals on paper, translated into tangible impact in their lives. This is development.
The Joint Programme, “Improving Municipal Social Protection Service Delivery” is funded by the United Nations Joint SDG Fund and is implemented by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women and WHO.