Dear colleagues, you are welcoming a patient of Albanian origin.
Here is a list of useful information to know in the context of his medical care.
Distance from Paris Tirana : 1 603 km
2.8 million inhabitants / Average salary: $437 per month
Literacy rate: 98% / Life expectancy: 78 years
Spoken language : Albanian
● Considered part of the Balkans, many people in this part of the world have had to deal with political instability and the violence that can ensue.
● The fall of communism in Albania and the mass emigration of qualified medical professionals has weakened the country’s health care system.
● The lack of health care personnel is compounded by a shortage of appropriate health care equipment and infrastructure.
● Awareness and prevention are still very low in the Albanian health system, perhaps requiring an educational effort on your part.
● Culturally frank and direct, Albanians may find it difficult to communicate on more “sensitive” issues such as illness.
● Decisions are often made by the highest-ranking individual in the group, which may lengthen the time needed to obtain patient consent.
● It is important for Albanians not to lose one’s temper, and to avoid any display of emotion.
● Any information deemed shameful or unfortunate about the family could be withheld.
● It may be necessary to have face-to-face conversations with one’s patient, to ensure that a full relevant family history is taken.
● For Albanians, eye contact during an exchange is important and indicates that the interviewer is a trusted person.
● Physical contact is possible between friends and acquaintances, but it is inappropriate to touch a stranger.
Beliefs, Practices & Rituals
● 70% of the population is Muslim, 20% are Orthodox and 10% are Catholic.
● During the month of Ramadan, fasting is de rigueur every day from sunrise to sunset.
● During Ramadan, the taking of small amounts of blood is allowed and does not interrupt the fast.
● During this period, the ailing person is allowed to eat to regain strength if the doctor deems it necessary.
● During Ramadan, therapeutic massage is allowed and does not break the fast, unlike the comfort and well-being massage.
● Much of Albanian cuisine is “Mediterranean” cuisine.
● Lunch is the main meal, and most often consists of a meat-based preparation, accompanied by fresh vegetables, cheese, bread (typically a corn-based bread) and olive oil.
● Seafood is a staple dish along the coastal regions.
● Albanians enjoy rich desserts, pastries, made with nuts and syrup.
● There is no specific age to consume alcohol in Albania.
Pregnancy and maternity
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● For Muslims, transplantation is allowed if it saves a life. To harvest a patient’s organs, the consent of the deceased or the family after death is required.
Examples of Cases Encountered
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