Article: L. Nikollari, E. Kukeli (Albania)
83 YEARS MILITARY HOSPITAL IN ALBANIA
The Central University Military Hospital(CUMH) was founded 83 years ago, on September 26, 1929. Itisone ofthe mostimportantmedicalinstitutionsin Albania for tradition,experiencecreatedduring many years of operation, and contributing notably to the development of Albanian military and civilian medicine.
The CUMHis the referenceinstitutionof military medicinein the Albanian Armed Forces(AAF). In the memoryof many military generations the militaryhospitalhas particular importance.
After structural changes in 1990 , adapting the developmentsin the Albanian armywith the assistanceofNATO, CUMH was composedto fulfillthe missionin support of AAFbuttakingon other missions: politrauma managementat national level and assistance of thecivilian populationin case of disasterand major misfortune.
The Hospital is located in the North-West of Tirana, it occupiesan area77.405 sqm andplentyofgreen.
The History of the Military Hospital originates at the time of the Albanian Kingdom of King Ahmet Zog. It was built in September 26, 1929 at the cost of 548.894,88 gold francs. The first director of the hospital was LTC Dr. Jani Basho (1892-1957), who graduated with “excellence” and the title "Doctor Unicus Medicus" from the Austrian University Vienna in the branch obstetric-surgery. After returning home, he was appointed chief of the health department in the National Defense Command, director of the Military Hospital (1929-1935) and personal physician of King Zog. In Albanian medicine – both military and civilian - Dr. Jani Basho is well remembered, his name associated with the construction of military and civilian hospital projects referring to plans that had been designed by the Viennese architect Köhler and which he had brought from Vienna in 1927. The original military hospital was constructed as a two story building in the location of today’s civil surgery hospital next to the University Hospital Center “Mother Theresa”. The Military Hospital was a very distinguished conspicuous building, built in style of that time, as described in the album “10 Years Albanian Kingdom”: The Military Hospital of the Capital where hundreds of soldiers were healed, the valuable sons of this Fatherland. It has a long and broad corridor that connects well-lighted comfortable rooms.
The General Military Hospital, even after liberation, continued its intensive activity in the same premises until 1957, when it was transferred to its current position at Laprake, in an building of similar age (1930). This building looks back on several purposes: Its first designation was that of an orphanage, after the war, it served the 1st Army Corps as Headquarters, later it was used by the Military School and, since 1957, it contains the Military Hospital. After the transfer to Laprake, the hospital had an in-patient capacity of 400 beds in the main building plus 50 beds in a trauma pavilion. On the second floor, the Surgical department was located with 45 beds and the central operation theater with two operation rooms.
The Military Hospital, today Central University Military Hospital (CUMH), is not only one of the most important medical institutions in the country, its numerous medical personnel who have trained and specialized in this institution have created a remarkable tradition in the development and modernization of Albanian medicine.
CUMH remains the only representation of military medicine in the Armed Forces (AF). After 1990, the changes in its structure and adaptation to the changes and developments in the Albanian Army and with the NATO assistance, it not only fulfills the mission in support of the AF, but also by treating poly-traumas nationwide and, in accordance with the mission of the Armed Forces, by assisting the civilian population in case of disaster.
The contribution of the military hospital to the medical assistance in the events of 1997 and the events of Kosovo in 1999 is indelible. Today, as the “epidemic of automobile traumas” brings to attention the daily risks of lives, the military hospital successfully meets this new challenge.
Since the focus of public observation is sensitive regarding medical care, the responsibility of all leaders and the entire directing staff and its medical and non medical personnel, is for maximum efforts to treat all urgent cases. Poly-trauma, however, proves a particular challenge to the health system in Albania, in this regard, the Military Hospital has successfully demonstrated discipline and devotion.
According to the standards of military medicine, CUMH is the highest institution of medical support at the tertiary level (role 3) and fulfills the mission in:
- health support for the AF, including the Ministry of Interior, the Guard of the Republic and the National Intelligence Service
- health support for military personnel and their families according to status
- poly-trauma treatment at national level
- health support for foreign military personnel on missions in Albania
- preventive Medicine in the AF
- health support in catastrophes and disasters
The CUMH operates in three main blocks:
- National Trauma Center (NTC)
- Military Hospital (MH)
- Institute of Military Medicine Research (IMMR)
Statistical data of the CUMH activity are quite significant and can not be compared to the medical institutions in the country. They demonstrate the full volume and capacity with which the institution operates. Its location at the intersection of national main roads coming from North and South "favors" the arrival of emergency flux, mainly of automobile traumas. On average, the CUMH receives over 35.000 medical emergencies each year, with up to 9000 patients being hospitalized.
NATIONAL TRAUMA CENTER (NTC)
NTC plays the main role in the management of urgent and poly-traumatic patients at national level.
Surgery services, orthopedic and intensive care units complete the full profile of CUMH in mission and in its role as the second tertiary hospital in Albania. Its personnel trains and prepares medical teams for emergency medical care at home as well as on missions. Scientific and pedagogical activities with students and post-graduates complete the image of the advanced medical institution.
The hospital plays a significant role in the field of treatment of internal diseases for military, ex-military and their families, but also in education and research.
INSTIUTE OF MILITARY MEDICINE (IMM)
The MMI follows the CUMH mission as a unique and specialized institution in the field of medicine in the Armed Forces for:
- identifying and monitoring the risk factors for the Military Community
- Prevention of diseases and epidemics, water and food security and duties of the state Sanitary Inspectorate
- preparation of programs and realization of information-education-counseling of the military community on health problems
- stimulation and support of guidelines and regulations aimed at health protection
- research in etiology, diagnosis and prognosis of the military community health problems, in cooperation with the Public Health counterpart structures in the country
- developing scientific strategies of control and prevention of diseases and health related problems in the Armed Forces
Restructuring and modernization of the CUMH required considerable funds allocated by the Ministry of Defense. Many great contributions by NATO countries must not remain unmentioned, which, together with the MoD funds, made it possible to completely transform the military hospital. We are particularly grateful to:
The Norwegian Government and the NORWAC foundation for developing the Master Plan and for investments in almost all premises of the military hospital
The US for donations of CT-Scanner and multi-channel ultrasound ECHO
The Netherlands for assistance with reconstruction of the Physiotherapy and training of the physio-personnel
Greece for the reconstruction of the Ambulatory Service with new and modern equipment, and for training of the medical personnel
Germany for assistance with radiological equipment, surgical equipment and training of many doctors and nurses especially in the field of surgery and imagery
Italy for assistance with procurement of medical equipment and logistics, baro-camera project for the oxygen therapy, staff training, internal infrastructure, etc.
Turkey for assistance with equipment and ambulance service as well as for training of personnel at high staff and university level at Gata Military Medical Academy in Ankara France for assistance with training of the medical staff in surgery, anesthesia, intensive care, aviation medicine, tropical medicine etc. as well by providing French language courses.
“The reduced number of soldiers will not result in reduced health challenges. Instead, contemporary conflicts increase the demands for extensive knowledge within military medicine”
During more than five decades since the rebirth of this vital institution, many generations of doctors and medical support staff have done everything to continuously improve standards, composition, dimensions and level of service, training and qualifications of personnel and by fulfilling the challenging task honoring the name and the image of this hospital in the eyes of its patients and all Albanian people. Honoring this exemplary effort, on the 24th of September 2009 the President of the Albanian Republic awarded the CUMH the Order "Mother Teresa".
References with the author
Colonel Phd Luan Nikollari
Albanian Armed Forces
LTC Dr. E. Kukeli
Address of the authors:
Spitali Ushtarak Qendror Universitar
Source: Medical Corps International Forum (2/2012)