A Chamber of Physicians for Kosovo

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ENROUTE 11NOV2013 1200 UTC 

Pristina – A new star is born. Kosovo got its Medical Chamber. In an inaugural session, 134 delegates came together in Pristina yesterday to constitute the Chamber of Physicians of Kosovo and to elect their first president. An assembly of mainly male delegates chose the only woman among the four candidates, the neuropsychiatrist Prof. Dr. Zylfije Hundozi.

ENR 20131111-1 HundoziThe first President of the Chamber of Physicians of Kosovo, Prof. Dr. Zylfije Hundozi (centre) together with WMA Council Member Dr. Ramin Parsa Parsi (left) and WMA Secretary General Dr. Otmar Kloiber

In her candidacy presentation she had highlighted the unfair attacks against physicians by the press and police over the past few months, and stated that she would stand firm against these. She quite obviously hit a nerve with the delegates, and will now have to build upon this in running the new medical association.  

Kosovo is still one of the poorest countries in Europe, but under the UN mandate and KFOR protection it has seen remarkable economic development. Yet the health care sector is still vastly underfinanced. Establishing a system of health insurance has been, and still is, the number one priority for the Health Minister, Prof. Dr. Ferid Agani, who three years ago began reconstructing a health care system for the country. Having been given the green light by parliament, he has now taken the courageous step of placing a remarkable set of state competencies in the hands of a body of physicians’ self-governance. 

Kosovan physicians also gave a clear sign of their aspiration of having their own voice vis-à-vis politics and society. In the election of the 134 assembly delegates in October, approximately 85 % of all physicians participated. 

During the inaugural celebrations in Pristina, Health Minister Agani thanked the German Medical Association (GMA) and the Development Fund of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. WMA Council Member Ramin Parsa-Parsi and his team at the GMA had led the support for the new chamber. They cooperated closely with the Kosovan government over the past few years, providing technical expertise. The inauguration was observed by delegations from the medical associations of Albania, Austria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as the secretary generals of the Standing Committee of European Doctors and the WMA. 

WMA Secretary General Dr. Otmar Kloiber travels around the world talking about the WMA's work representing the millions of physicians worldwide. Acting on behalf of patients and physicians, the WMA endeavors to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care, ethics, education and health related human rights for all people. This blog will chronicle these travels and important issues.