Why CfKK does what it does

‘Children in Kosovo should have a fair chance, like all children in the world. The most vulnerable deserve our support; I have the greatest respect for those who help others.’

Majlinda Kelmendi, CfKK-ambassador. As a judoka she was the first Kosovar to win a gold Olympic medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Healthcare in Kosovo

Up until 2013 the medical staff of the pediatric oncology department of the UCCK in Pristina was able to diagnose different types of cancer, but the physicians were unable to treat children suffering from cancer due to a lack of medication and other basic needs. Many children died unnecessarily of cancers for which treatments existed.

Well-to-do Kosovars were and are able to afford to go to private clinics and pay for diagnosis and medication themselves or go abroad in search for a solution. Parents without sufficient financial means do not have these options.
That such a heart-breaking tragedy took place in Europe – only a few hours by plane from the Netherlands – was the primary motivation for the foundation of the Dutch-Kosovar foundation Care for Kosovo Kids (CfKK). Since 2013, every year approx. 50 Kosovar children suffering from cancer have received state-of-the-art treatment at the Pediatric Oncology department of the University Clinical Center in Pristina. For 10 years now, CfKK has paid for their essential medication.

Thanks to Gertjan Kaspers, professor of pediatric oncology and CfKK-ambassador, pediatric oncologists of the Princess Máxima Center in the Netherlands – the largest dedicated oncology hospital for children in Europe – and the pediatric oncology department of the UCCK in Pristina now collaborate closely. Doctors working at the UCCK are supported with diagnostics, treatment and have access to the Princess Máxima Center knowledge base.

This support is necessary because healthcare in Kosovo faces several problems as a result of lack of medicines, shortages in medical professionals and physicians going abroad in search for better working conditions and better wages.

Access to proper healthcare is a fundamental human right. Regrettably, successive Kosovar governments have as of yet been unable to create a healthcare system that, next to high quality, is accessible and adequate for the population.

Kosovo’s healthcare system consists of a primary, secondary and tertiary referral system. Primary care consists of thirteen centers for general practitioners and ambulatory health units. Secondary care is decentralised and takes place in eight regional hospitals. The University Clinical Center of Kosovo (UCCK) offers healthcare through twelve clinics in the capital Pristina. This hospital is the most important center for tertiary care and offers specialised medical services. It is the only center where children suffering from cancer can be admitted and treated.

About Kosovo

Kosovo is a young, small European country in the Balkans. Since it gained independence, a lot of work has focused on establishing all organizations, services, and healthcare that the country needs. Much work is yet to be done, and is currently only possible with foreign aid. For now, Kosovo needs such support. Unemployment is high, the average wage is low and, in terms of healthcare, the country still has a long way to go. Kosovo has more than 1.8 million inhabitants, most of whom are ethnic Albanians. More than half of the population is estimated to be under the age of 25. The country is approximately a quarter the size of the Netherlands.

Save the lives of Kosovar children!