The Covid-19 crisis has affected vulnerable groups disproportionately and they have faced the greatest challenges in accessing basic services. To assist those groups, Humanitarian Assistance Project (HAP), funded by the EU office in Kosovo and implemented by UNDP in Kosovo, has reactivated the Agency for Free Legal Aid’s mobile clinic (originally established by UNDP) to visit municipalities across Kosovo, with a particular focus on rural and remote areas, to offer legal services to vulnerable groups - particularly women, elders, children, and minority communities.
The mobile clinic has proven effective in providing social and legal counselling and other basic services to vulnerable groups and to amplify the scope and provision of those and other services, UNDP has purchased and fully equipped two new vans/mobile clinics. These mobile clinics are customized vehicles that will travel to the heart of communities throughout Kosovo, both urban and rural, and assist persons in need.
In close cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, Labor, and Transfers (MFLT), Department for Social and Family Planning (DSFP), UNDP has engaged two Kosovo-wide NGOs, “Nëna Tereza” and “Handikos Gjilan/Gnjilane” to provide specialized services with focus on people with disabilities and elderly people who have limited access to services and living in hard-to-reach areas.
Mobile clinics will provide basic services and may also be used for transportation services for elderly or others with reduced mobility in reaching their care facilities, such as healthcare and welfare centers, vaccination facilities, rehabilitation or other therapeutic services, psycho-social counseling, employment offices, birth certification registration, and similar services based on an established need and a clear schedule.
The two specialized mobile clinics were handed over to the NGO’s today, in a ceremony which took place at the Skenderbeu Square with participation the of Mr. Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative, Mr. Ilir Kapiti, Deputy Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers, Ms. Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Zef Shala of NGO Nëna Terezë, Mr. Fatmir Shurdhani of Handikos Gjilan/Gnjilane, and other representatives of international community and Kosovo institutions.
Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative, stated that the European Union is working hard to reduce social inequalities deepened by Covid-19 “This period has certainly increased social inequalities, leaving a portion of our societies in extreme poverty and a large number of households in difficult socio-economic conditions. This is why I am very happy to be at today’s launch of the Mobile Social Clinics. As of tomorrow, these two minivans will offer a range of social, health and employment services to the most vulnerable.”
Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Represntative emphasized the importance of making the services accessible to all in need : ”Under the Humanitarian Assistance Project, funded by the EU, we will help in providing social and family services - as well as health services – through mobile clinics. This will allow for services to be provided door-to-door – to reach those in most vulnerable situations, such as the elderly and persons with disabilities. This will strengthen local institutions’ ability to provide quality services through an innovative way.”
“The Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers is responsible for drafting policies, legislation, social support programmes and organizing the provision of social services. This Ministry, according to the approved budget for 2021, through a public call has provided financial support in the amount of 900 thousand euros to support 39 NGOs licensed to provide social and family services. This financial support amounted from 12 thousand to 45 thousand euros for the implementation of projects,” said Deputy Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers, Ilir Kapiti.
“On behalf of the "Mother Teresa" Organization, I have the pleasure to accept this donation today. The project is designed to provide multi-disciplinary services to enhance health and social well-being because every person has the right to live and grow old with dignity. Therefore, such projects are needed especially for vulnerable groups which are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis” said Zef Shala Director of the Kosova Humanitarian and Charitable Society-Mother Teresa.
Fatmir Shurdhani, the Manager of the Handikos Gjilan stated on this occasion: “Handikos Gjilan is grateful to the EU and UNDP for entrusting us with such an important mission. We are extremely happy that people with disabilities and the elderly in the region of Gjilan/Gnjilane and Ferizaj/Uroševac will not be limited by the inability to access public services but will be able to access psychological and social work assistance, nursing care, and medications.
Pandemic began as a health crisis but, for almost two years now, has turned into a multi-dimensional crisis with far-reaching socio-economic implications. EU and UNDP commitment continue to provide support to the most vulnerable groups on the risks and recovery processes associated with COVID-19.
Working at the heart of UN Kosovo Team, UNDP in Kosovo has been supporting the people and institutions of Kosovo to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic since the outbreak, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable. We have rapidly shifted focus, responding swiftly and efficiently and reorienting our programme to assist Kosovo’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus, helping to protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, respond during the outbreak, and recover from the economic and social impacts in the months to come.
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Burbuqe Dobranja, UNDP Communications Associate
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Danijela Mitić, UNDP Communication Associate
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Enisa Rashlanin Kasemi, Information and Communication Officer, EU Office in Kosovo