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April 30 2009

Tirana: (Albania) - The Agreement between the Community of Sant' Egidio and the Albanian Institutes for the implementation of two Nursing Homes for mentally disabled persons.

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On April 30 2009 the Community of Sant'Egidio signs in Tirana, with the Albanian Ministries of Economy and of Public Health, two important documents for startup of the project for construction of two Nursing-homes for long-term residents still hosted in the  Psychiatric Clinic of the Hospital of Tirana. In the project, financed by the Italian Cooperation, are involved also the Italian Bishop's Conference and the net of donors of the Community of Sant'Egidio.

The two Nursing-homes will be built on a ground granted to the Community of Sant'Egidio by the Albanian Council of Ministers, situated in the area of the University Hospital Center "Mother Theresia" of Tirana.

The project becomes part of the Psychiatric Reform being accomplished in the Country, that provides for the territorial decentralization of the services for the protection of the mental health of the sick and of their families, with the downsizing of the mental hospitals and welcome of the persons leaving the big institutes in alternative residential structures. The project aims at effectively collaborating to the reform and to help Albania to approach the European standards in protection and care of mental health.

The two new Nursing-homes will welcome 16 persons coming from the department for long term patients of the Psychiatric Hospital of Tirana, with whom the Community of Sant'Egidio has been experiencing for 15 years an intense and faithful friendship: thus is realized the dream, begun by the Community in 2004, with the opening of the first Nursing-home, of getting to close of that Department and of restoring our friends to a ful rehabilitation and to a life dignifying and rich in social exchanges in the town in which they live.
An important side of the project is furthermore that of the formation of skilled staff, through courses of requalification of the already employed staff members and courses for creation of the new professional competence of "home agent for psyco-social rehabilitation", so that those who work on the territory in this field may acquire a new approach to the mental illness.
Last but not less important, we aim at give raise in the Albanian society to a culture of integration of the mentally ill persons, stimulating - through initiatives of sensitization and information campaigns to be realized by the Community of Sant'Egidio with the local institutes and with international ones like OMS -, a consciousness without prejudices of the condition of these disabled and of the possibility of care of the mental illness.

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