The US-based International Virtual e-Hospital (IVeH) developed and built the National Telemedicine Center of Albania on the campus of the University Hospital Center 'Mother Theresa' (TUHC), as part of the Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program of Albania in partnership with USAID, the Albanian Ministry of Health, the United States Department of Defense's Office of Defense Cooperation and the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE). The development of the telemedicine centre was achieved through the IVeH strategy Initiate Build Operate and Transfer (IBOT). In addition, there are five regional telemedicine centres in Kukes, Shkoder, Durres, Korce and Vlore which have been developed through the same partnership.
The inaugural event included the unveiling of a plaque by Dr Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania and Alexander Arvizu, US Ambassador to Albania. Other dignitaries included Dr Petrit Vasili, the Albanian Minister of Health, Visho Ajazaj, Deputy Minister of Innovation and Communication Technology and Saimir Ivziku, director of the TUHC. Charles Doarn, IVeH executive director and professor of public health sciences, University of Cincinnati, served as master of ceremonies.
The delegation participated in an international programme which linked sites in the United States with all the telemedicine centres in Albania. Dr Rifat Latifi, project director, president and founder of IVeH and professor of surgery at the University of Arizona, speaking via videoconference from Baltimore, Maryland, presented the overall scope of the telemedicine effort and introduced each of the participating centres.
Dr Vasili, Ambassador Arvizu and his Excellency, Dr Berisha spoke about the importance of telemedicine for healthcare in Albania and the significance of the relationship between Albania and the United States. "Today, we are experiencing one of the greatest events in the history of our health system," said Prime Minister Berisha. Dr Vasili commented on Albania's important health sector achievement, citing it as an example of the modernisation of the medical system in Albania. Mr Arvizu said: "This is a great achievement of US support to the Albanian healthcare system and to the health of the Albanian people."
The delegation toured the facility, including the electronic library, the patient examination room and the administrative offices.
- Official press release - International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation
- Related ePractice news article - US/Balkans: Balkans Telemedicine Program wins award for public eHealth efforts in region