Tirana, July 21 (EFE). – The Albanian parliament approved on Friday a law obligating medical graduates from public universities to work in the country for up to five years after completing their studies, a measure that seeks to alleviate the shortage of health personnel in the Balkan country.
In favor of the law, 71 socialist deputies voted against it, while 23 deputies from the opposition voted against it.
The new regulations state that all study applicants will sign an agreement with the University of Medicine of Tirana, the only public center in Albania that teaches the specialization, before the next start of the course, in which they agree to work after their graduation for five years in Albanian health institutions.
An alternative to this agreement is to pay the total cost of studies, which has not yet been determined, in the event that they do not sign the document to be able to travel abroad to practice their profession.
In recent years, an average of 150 doctors – out of a total of 5,400 in the Albanian health system – quit their jobs each year and migrate to European countries, especially Germany, where there are better salary conditions.
Albania has 1.93 doctors per thousand inhabitants, which is a low number compared to other countries in the Balkans (2.6) and compared to the richest western countries (3.6).
To stop health workers leaving, the government dramatically raised their salaries last April, setting the salary of general practitioners at around 1,300 euros and nurses at around 850 euros per month. The average salary in Albania is around 550 Euros.
Medical students protested against the socialist government’s new measure, considering it unconstitutional and anti-democratic, and announced that they would boycott the new academic year. EFE
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