Beliefs about informal payments in Albania

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Informal payments for health care are a growing concern in Albania and other transitional economy countries. Recent international studies have shown that informal payments can have negative effects on health care access, equity and health status by causing people to forgo or delay seeking care, or sell assets to pay for care. Many countries are putting in place reforms meant to reduce informal payments. In order to be successful, such policies need to consider people's attitudes and beliefs about the practice. This study collected data from 222 citizens in Albania regarding intentions, past behaviours, attitudes and beliefs about informal payments. Comparing people who intend to make informal payments with people who do not intend to make payments, the study found differences in attitudes as well as beliefs about the consequences of making informal payments, in perceptions about what others think and in control beliefs, but no difference in moral beliefs or demographic characteristics. People who intend to make informal payments the next time they seek care are more likely to believe they will get faster and better quality care than non-intenders, but also think they must pay to receive any care at all. People who do not intend to make informal payments are more likely to report that they have connections with medical personnel, which may be substituting for informal payments. The study has implications for educational campaigns accompanying policy reforms. Campaigns which focus on anti-corruption messages are unlikely to be effective, as moral beliefs do not appear to influence intention.

Original Citation

Vian T., Burak L.J. (2006). Beliefs about informal payments in Albania. Health Policy and Planning, 21(5), 392-401. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czl022