Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN), in cooperation with the Kosovo Midwife Association, organized on 7 February at Prishtina Hotel a round-table meeting concerning the maternity hospitals being closed in Kosovo, causes and the options for avoiding this situation and putting them to function again.
This meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health, Trade Union Health Federation, Parliamentary Committee on Health, Main Family Medicine Centers, and representatives of KWN staff and Kosovo Midwife Association.
Magbule Elezi, Executive Director of Kosovo Midwife Association, opened the meeting stating once again that in Kosovo there are 14 maternity hospitals in total, but some of them are, unfortunately, out of order.
Edona Hajrullahu, vice Ombudsperson, committed that the Ombudsperson Institution is a mechanism of equality and as such is responsible for receiving and investigating the complaints of any citizen and inform the public institutions and provide the latter with recommendations. For this reason, Hajrullahu expressed, on behalf of the Ombudsperson Office, the willingness to cooperation with all the actors beyond this meeting, so that all women and girls be provided with an equal access to healthcare.
During the meeting, the participants discussed about maternity hospitals that are open but out of order, and the lack of gynecologists working in them, and how women and girls in rural areas have to go to the nearest city to carry out gynecological visits even if such visits are regular.
Afterwards, Xhejrane Lokaj, said that she has worked since 1978 as a midwife both at the hospital and in education institutions. In the recent years, she has been working in the emergency sector because the maternity hospital is no longer functional. “Dragash maternity hospital is not closed. I have the key with me today, and I can open it whenever I go to work but doing so won’t change anything. The women in our region are not equally treated like the ones in other regions, particularly those in urban areas”, Lokaj said. Furthermore, she said that women of 36 villages of Dragash Municipality should travel at least 60 kilometers to even receive a hormonal treatment.
“I do not understand, then, why we have a midwifery secondary school? Why does the faculty offer midwifery studies in the first place? If there is no job for midwives, then why are we preparing professionals in this field?”, she added.
On the other hand, Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of KWN, said that women’s health is one of the items of KWN strategy, and KWN has worked a lot over the years towards this goal, by sending notes to the media, providing recommendations concerning laws, and publishing research reports.
They also discussed about functional maternity hospitals which must be taken as an example, and the one of Podujeva was mentioned as being one of them.
In addition, the participants shared other information concerning the situation of other maternity hospitals, such as the one of Kaçanik, Istog, and their challenges. The meeting included discussions and debates until it came to an end.
As a result, three main recommendations were provided:
- Kosovo Midwife Association should be included in all working groups discussing and rendering decisions for all legal acts and by-laws concerning midwives and their profession;
- Gynecologists being sent by the Ministry of Health to all maternity hospitals lacking gynecologists would make it possible that such maternity hospitals be operationalized as soon as possible, along with the midwives’ job description and competencies on the basis of health levels.