Since January of 2016, CeMI, in cooperation with the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (UMHCG), the Center for Consumer Protection (CEZAP), Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN) and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) realized a project named “Health Care and Patient’s Rights in Montenegro – Winning Citizens’ Confidence”.
The realization of the project started with the analysis of the national legislative framework, and comparative analysis and examples of good practice from the legislation of Croatia and Serbia.
The basis for the implementation of project activities was the cooperation with the health institutions in Montenegro, through the signing of a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the Health Insurance Fund and the Public Procurement Directorate, while the previously established cooperation continued with the Institute for Public Health and the Agency for Drugs and Drugs Medical devices.
During the project, CeMI implemented a number of activities:
- the first mobile and web application for the anonymous complaints of citizens for violation of their rights as patients (over 300 citizens of Montenegro use the application on their mobile devices)
- hired lawyers who provided free primary and secondary legal assistance to patients (67 patients used this service and 46 cases resolved)
- 13 trainings were realized (240 health workers were trained)
- a two-day training for the patients’ rights protectors was organized (in cooperation with the Center for Consumer Protection – CEZAP)
- training was held for members of the Network of Free Legal Aid Organizations (in cooperation with the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights – YUCOM)
- CeMI research team conducted eight focus groups with patients covering 80 patients from all over Montenegro.
- 20 in-depth interviews with health professionals were conducted
- public opinion survey in order to examine citizens’ attitudes about the quality of health care and corruption in the health system (it is done on a sample of 1006 adult citizens).
The results of the public opinion poll were presented at the press conference. On the basis of these results a special questionnaire was made based on which 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with decision-makers, representatives of other NGOs and the media analyzing the health system of Montenegro.
During the project CeMI provided support to journalists in their investigation of alleged cases of corruption in the health care system, which resulted in the publication of 10 research texts on the state of health in Montenegro and potential cases of corruption, published on the most readable Vijesti portal and the portal Investigative Journalism – CIN, while most of them were on the cover of the printed edition of ND “Vijesti”.
All of CeMI’s findings were framed in a comprehensive study that summarized the results of all analyzes carried out. CeMI’s contribution to this project is also part of a study in which a system of public procurement in the health sector has been thoroughly explored.
In addition to part of the study, the entire policy brief is dedicated to the health care of members of marginalized groups, with an emphasis on people with disabilities.
Within both documents, a number of recommendations have been formulated highlighting the necessity of changing the legislative framework, adopting by-laws, recommendations based on analyzed examples of good practice in the EU and the region, and public procurement.
The recommendations formulated by CeMI were presented at the meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee of the European Union and Montenegro and found a place in the Declaration of the Joint Consultative Committee to be sent to the Government of Montenegro.
During the entire duration of the project, an active campaign in the media and social networks was conducted in order to inform citizens about their rights, how to use the application, and present all other activities.
CeMI will in the future continue to actively participate in the improvement of the health system of Montenegro and to promote healthy and concrete changes.
The project “Health Care and Patient’s Rights in Montenegro – Winning Citizens’ Confidence” was funded by the European Union through the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Montenegro Support Program (CBSS ).