The Republic of Moldova, a landlocked country between Ukraine and Romania, is considered to be one of the poorest countries in Europe. Unfortunately, the economic state of the country, coupled with a legacy of corrupt government practices, has made it difficult to fund and sustain its health care system. However, since 2007, several programs and legislation have targeted health care in Moldova.
The State of Health Care
The life expectancy in Moldova averaged 72.2 years as of 2018. It has improved significantly from the 2000s, when life expectancy fell to the mid-60s, but remains one of the lowest in the WHO European region.
The European Health Observatory reported that in 2021, Moldova had mandatory health insurance that covered 88% of the population. The sanitation in Moldova is good, with 89.9% of Moldovan people using improved sanitation systems that direct waste into a sewer system.
However, according to The Moldova Project, Moldovan families only have $188 a month to access essentials, including but not limited to health care. Furthermore, 44% of the Moldovan population does not have access to improved water.
What the Government is Doing
The government launched health care reforms in 2004. Between 2007 and 2013, the priority of the Moldovan government’s health strategy was the prevention and mitigation of diseases and risk factors. The health strategy changed in 2014 and continued until 2020, placing focus on sustainable well-being through enhanced public health services.
The government sought to modernize the health care system in 2016, which continued to be a priority until 2018. The same year, the Ministry of Health created Public Health Councils to improve the quality of health care, to ensure the implementation of legislative acts and to coordinate the activities of medical facilities. These councils exist in each district under the Centres of Public Health.
The Republic of Moldova redirects 6.8% of the country’s GDP into health care. While this is not the lowest percentage spent on health care in Europe, it is less than the 9.83% average of the world and less than its neighboring country, Ukraine.
How Foreign Aid Helps
On top of the government prioritizing sustainable health and well-being, various organizations are extending help to improve health care in Moldova.
One example of this is The Health Services and Social Assistance Project, which set multiple targets to improve health care in the Republic of Moldova. The World Bank released a report on this project in 2015 that demonstrated notable success. The Health Services and Social Assistance Project achieved its goal of the National Health Insurance allocating 30% of its budget to primary care, implemented a training program for family doctors and introduced 75 new protocols, which surpassed its goal of 60.
It had aimed to construct 65 health centers but was only able to construct 38 as a result of unforeseen construction costs. It did surpass its goal of renovating 74 health facilities, as it had renovated 77. The Health Services and Social Assistance Project aimed to have 80% of the population with mandatory health insurance, and surpassed this target with 85% of the population having mandatory health insurance in 2014.
The Moldova Project Gives Aid Through Health Care
Established in 2008, The Moldova Project typically aids single-parent families with three or more children. Many of these parents experience addiction, unemployment and poor mental health. The Moldova Project takes a multifaceted approach by providing a range of services, such as subsistence packets, clothes, home repairs and health care.
The organization offers and provides medical assistance, including treatments for serious illnesses and surgeries, to all beneficiaries. Without intervention, these injuries and illnesses would worsen. Each year, the organization helps provide approximately 200 medical interventions in Moldova. Additionally, The Moldova Project has a psychological support program to aid health care in the Republic of Moldova. This program can provide up to 900 sessions a year, including round-the-clock support to families, psychological support for youths and counseling for parents.
How WHO Helps Moldovans Access Health Care
The World Health Organization also promotes health in the Republic of Moldova. The first WHO office in Moldova was established in 1995 and the Country Office profile was upgraded in 2011. The current Head of the Country Office for Moldova invests in activities that support national policy development.
The World Health Organization has mobilized young people and carried out multiple awareness campaigns in Moldova to promote the COVID-19 vaccination. It even has football players engaged in its efforts. In March 2023, they implemented a training course on health workforce leadership to maintain a strong health force. The course is also in Armenia, Romania, Georgia and North Macedonia, and allows participants to interpret and apply evidence to policy, along with other skills.
While there are difficulties for Moldovans accessing health and well-being facilities, the future looks optimistic. The country has seen overall improvements in health care in the last two decades. As long as organizations like WHO and The Moldova Project support the country, health care should continue to improve.
– Lachlan Griffiths