The health of the Portuguese has improved considerably in the last twenty years. Economic and social transformations that have contributed to the progressive amelioration of problems of feeding, sanitation, hygiene, housing and social conditions in general, as well as health services, have had decisive effect on this phenomenon. The spectacular regression of the indicators related to transmitted diseases, infant, perinatal (more than 50% between 1985 and 1994) and maternal mortality, and the mortality of children 1 to 4 yr old, also reflects this impact.
As governments seek to expand access to quality health care services, policy makers in many countries are confronting the problem of informal payments to medical personnel. The aim of this study was to help health planners in Albania understand informal payments occurring in government health facilities. Researchers used in-depth interviews and focus groups with 131 general public and provider informants in three districts.