Donika Bardhi1, Albana Fico1, Silvia Bino1, Dritan Mema4, Hasan Hafizi2, Sonela Xinxo3, Artan Simaku1, Elida Mataj1, Elina Mukaj1.
1Insitute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania;
2University Hospital “ Shefqet Ndroqi”, Tirana, Albania;
3Project of Global Fund Albania, Tirana, Albania;
4Health Centre, No. 4, Tirana, Albania.
Background: Health professionals working in primary health care services in Albania have a major responsibility for timely identification and referral of suspected cases with Tuberculosis. This study explored the level of health professionals perception, challenges and needs pertaining to the identification of patients with tuberculosis.
Methods: A quantitative survey conducted in 2019 included 41 health centers from Tirana (28) and Kukësi (13). A self-administrated questionnaire for assessing the level of knowledge about TB was used among 309 health professionals (doctors and nurses) in primary health care services.
Results: Only 54.4% of the staff working at Health Care centers in urban areas answered correctly to the questions related to clinical symptoms of TB compared to 40% of the staff working at health care centers in rural areas. However, more than half (48%) of the staff working at HC in urban areas had knowledge on the time period for the treatment of TB according to treatment protocolscompared to 33.4% of the staff working in rural areas. The urban Health Care centers have a good working cooperation with regional dispensaries compared to those in rural areas (56.4% vs. 26.2% respectively). The scale of communication of health professionals with the community in regard to education on TB remains low for both urban and rural areas (34.2% and 25.5% respectively).
Conclusion: There is an urgent need for strengthening capacities of health professionals working in primary health care services regarding to TB. These results should be used to orient the Control Tuberculosis Program. Information obtained from this studywill also be disseminated to relevant authorities for the efficient formulation of policies and implementation of intervention strategies for the control of TB in Albania.
Keywords: health professionals, primary health care, Tuberculosis.