Qamil Dika1, Alban Ylli1,2, Albana Fico1,2, Genc Burazeri1
1 Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine, Tirana, Albania.
2 Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania.
Aim: Our aim was to assess the prevalence of selected non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their associated risk factors in the adult population of Albania, a country which traditionally has had a low number of primary health care (PHC) visits.
Methods: A nationwide PHC-based medical check-up programme, with a focus on prevention, was set up in Albania in 2015 including all citizens aged 35-70 years. The current analysis is based on the data gathered from the check-up programme information system and the registry of diseases at all PHC centres in Albania in 2016.
Results: Of the 329,576 individuals who underwent a medical check-up in 2016, 36% had elevated blood pressure (systolic at 140 mmHg or higher and/or diastolic at 90 mmHg or higher); 21% were suspected of having depression; 15% had blood glucose levels higher than 5.5 mmol/L and 9% higher than 7.0 mmol/L; and 1% had a positive faecal occult blood test.
Conclusions: Overall, the medical check-up programme in Albania has identified a substantial number of new cases of NCD as well as their associated risk factors in the adult population of both sexes. The early detection of NCDs is expected to contribute to the prevention of complications, premature mortality and their associated costs. However, decision-makers in Albania should regularly revise and introduce appropriate changes to the check-up programme in the future. In particular, the issue of sustainability and long-term resource mobilization is of particular concern and warrants careful consideration.
Keywords: Albania, check-up, prevention, primary health care.