Inspired Change: Why Right to Health Matters for Kosovo
Ferid Agani, Minister of Health, Kosovo
At the World Bank Institute, we are believers in the value of knowledge exchange and learning for development. Recent experience has showed me that this is true for our clients and development partners and is a good example of how knowledge exchange and practical learning can inspire forward movement on important issues, in this case – the right to health.
Yesterday, at the Salzburg Global Seminar on Universal Health Coverage, I spoke with the Minister of Health for Kosovo, Ferid Agani. He explained that right to health is considered a part of the constitution and legislation in Kosovo, and in a growing number of countries in Southeastern Europe. However, it isn’t very present as a concept in everyday politics, and he believes that this needs to change and the right to health needs to become part of the development goals of his country in a more comprehensive way.
Agani explained why the right to health mattered to him: “Any argument to bring health on the agenda as a priority of government has my support.” He went onto say that a session on the right to health, “How can we meaningfully use key principles of a rights-based approach to enhance the value of health care?” changed his perspective. This session, chaired by Leonardo Cubillos-Turriaga of the World Bank Institute, brought in perspectives from Paul Hunt of the University of Essex, Alvaro Salas of the Costa Rican Social Security Institute, and Ayman Sabae of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Agani said that the session took him from a perspective of the right to health being a sentence in the constitution to a position where he understood the implications of this and the evidence-based knowledge supporting it. The session also gave him exposure to and was able to build on other people’s views.
As Kosovo is undergoing a health sector reform, a project funded by the World Bank Group, he wanted to continue the conversation and was thinking of organizing a conference on the right to health in Pristina next year. Agani noted, “I realized that the right to health concept would allow us to put the patient at the center of reform.”
-Submitted by Maya Brahmam, Senior Communications Officer, WBIKL.