12 February 2021
Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF addressed a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, demanding to transfer sectors of social welfare and social services to the Ministry of Health, both in content and designation, by transforming the current Ministry into into the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Through the media, we have been informed about the division of ministries of new government cabinet, where the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare has been divided into several ministries. Social transfers have been transferred to the Ministry of Finance, while the employment sector has been transferred to the Ministry of Economy, Employment, Trade, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Investments. However, it remains unclear to which ministry will be included the sector of social welfare and social services. We believe that welfare and social services should be a priority and one of the main pillars of the government’s program.
Therefore this should also be reflected in the division of ministries as well. Specifically, KOMF’s proposal is that the welfare and social services sectors should be transferred to the Ministry of Health, both in content and designation, turning it into the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The main reasons for this proposal are:
- The state is responsible for social welfare, has overall responsibility for the organization of the provision of social and family services in Kosovo and It ensures that inhabitants of Kosovo have fair and equal access to social and family services without distinction of any kind. The state is obliged to provide social and family services based on the legislation in force and international human rights conventions.
- Social welfare remains one of the most underdeveloped, neglected and under-prioritized sectors in Kosovo. Recent data from the international researches and Child Protection Index, show a serious social welfare situation in Kosovo. 17% of Kosovo’s population lives in poverty. 6.8% of children work in hazardous conditions to support their families. 61.4% of children suffered from psychological violence or physical punishment. 10% of children with disabilities benefit from social and family services. Many children without parental care, victims of abuse, need shelter and social services. Reports from institutions and organizations recommend an increased involvement of children in violations of the law, including violence, the consequences of which in some cases are fatal to the children themselves. Also, the average age of onset of drug use decreased from 21 to 16 years old.
- According to reports and studies in Kosovo, services between the health and social welfare sectors are not integrated. Given the great importance of an integrated service system, it is recommended that social and family services be integrated with health services. This can be done naturally and much easier if both of these sectors operate under one ministry. This also coincides with the organization of directorates at the municipal level, where the directorates of health and social welfare function as a single department.
- Based on most EU countries, the social welfare sector is reflected in their government cabinets in both content and designation. Examples can be taken in countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, etc., which have ministries of health and social affairs in their governments.
Taking into account the common interest of citizens to have access in social welfare, KOMF calls for the Prime Minister’s attention that the sectors of welfare and social services to be transferred to the Ministry of Health, both in content and designation, turning it into the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, this is due to the importance and need for prioritization and development of this sector.