Following God’s commandment with respect to those who suffer and are sick and also taking into consideration Albanian people’s need for medical treatment, aid and medicaments during the first years of democracy in their country, Archbishop Anastasios, through his valuable work, conveyed to people the message that church would not only cure the spiritual wounds but also the physical ones.
St. Luke Clinic was the final achievement after much hard work carried over a long period of time. It was founded by His Beatitude, Archbishop Anastasios on November 1st, 1994 and it was located on a small building in Tirana city. Thus, St. Luke clinic was built and in spite of its very small staff, it offered specialized medical assistance in several medical fields like: pathology, pediatrics, cardiology, ophthalmology, neurology, micro-surgery, abdominal ultrasounds, children cardiograms etc.
The staff in the clinic had in use very contemporary equipments for the medical treatment of their patients, such as Ultrasound devices, ECG, surgery lamps, ophthalmologic facilities, autoclave, electrical lances, generators etc. Until May of 1998, a huge number of patients came to the clinic doing their visit to the doktors and taking medication.
This clinic during the very first years delivered free medicaments, and during 1994 -1996 to mothers who had just given birth was offered free formula and ointment for their babies. In 1997 the clinic was equipped with a new ambulance in service of the sick pople. During the crisis in Albania (1997-1998) when a huge number of demoralized people tried to go and live abroad, Archbishop Anastasios gave a valuable contribution to help them alleviate their pain and keep alive their hope for the future of the country.
A few years later, in 1999, the need for additional and specialized medical assistance and qualified staff gave way to the expansion of St. Luke clinic. It took the shape of a complex of buildings which would be named the Annunciation Orthodox Diagnostic Center. In this center were working many well-known doctors of our country, offering their experience in more than 24 specialties, which are visited every month about six thousand patients, regardless of religion. The center provides contemporary health services.
In 2000, was created a staff and a day surgery room (with the American experience). The great experience, the best doctors, the tireless work of the doctors and the staff, the perfect conditions and the modern apparatus have given an image and credibility of this institution. During its 10-year are visited 760,400 patients. For more information see the Orthodox Diagnostic Centre "Evangelization".
During its operation of 10 years (1999-2009) the Annunciation Orthodox Diagnostic Centre, in addition to its diagnostic activity in this building, donated different types of medicines to patiens: of our Diagnostic Center, and to patients of other health centers. Also to disabled people were given crutches, wheelchairs etc.
Also during this period are given several times a year various types of medicines such as cotton, gauze, ankerplast, plaster, serums and surgery toolsin these institutions: to the Orthodox Clinic in Korça and in Kavaja; to the church and the kindergarten of the church in Vlora; to the hospitals of Vlora, Berati, Korça, Elbasani, Kavaja, Fieri, Lezha, Selenicë of Vlora; to the Surgery Room in the hospital of Durrës, to the Military Hospital in Tirana; to the University Hospital Center "Mother Teresa" in Tirana; to the Dystrophic Hospital in Tirana; to the Psychiatric Hospital of Tirana; to the Sanatorium of Tirana; to the Polyclinic of the Neighborhood No. 10 in Tirana; to the Residential Development Center in Berati; to the state orphanage "Zyber Hallulli"; to the National Association of Invalids; to the Prison 325 and 313 in Tirana; to the villiages Armenj, Lubonjë, Karbunara; to the invalids sent by our own Church.
In 1997, the clinic started its activity in Kavaja city (close to the church of Saint Nicholas). Some of the doctors who offered their services were: Dr. Margarita Kostaqi, Dr. Milto Kostaqi, Dr. Klement Shteto, Dr. Anita Moci.
In the same year, the Annunciation Orthodox Clinic started to operate also in Korça city. Its medical staff consisted of very well known doctors. Some of them were: Dr. Silvana Muli, Dr. Ilia Skendi, Dr. Gjergj Mikerezi, Dr. Lirika Lika etc.
In 1998, another innovation, the Mobile Dental Unit was available to people throughout the country who could use it for free. The Mobile Dental Unit was going almost in all the cities of Albania, in many villages, schools, centers, foundations, public institutions and Orthodox churches. The Mobile Dental Unit was offered also to the Refugees that come from Kosovo in 1999.
In 2003, the Annunciation Orthodox Clinic was built in Jergucat, an area in Gjirokastra city. Some of the doctors who offered their services were from Gjirokastra, and other doctors were from the hospitals of Ioannina.
In 2006, the the Annunciation Orthodox Polyclinic was opened in Lushnjë (next to the church of Saint George) with well known doctors: Dr. Vasil Lushnjari, Dr. Koli Prifti, Dr. Petraq Allkanjari, Dr. Viktor Zegali, Dr. Gjergji Liko, Dr. Drita Lushnjari etc.
All this great effort of the health care that shows our Church, is directed by its Foundation “the Annunciation Orthodox Clinics”, in Tirana. But the health care and assistance that offeres our Church is also through various programs that are designed and implemented by Diakonia Agapes (Service of Love) which is the social, emergency and development Office of the Church.
With the fall of the communist regime, many doctors who were appointed in the rural areas returned to the cities, leaving these area without health care. "The Service of Love" (Diakonia Agapes) already has years that contributes in increasing the role of nurses and midwives, providing training and assistance projects. Also are opened many local infirmary. Furthermore, the book “Where there is no doctor" (translated in English) provides information on how to examine and treate common illnesses. This bosk is distributed in all of these areas for free.
The health care programs include a) improving the elements of primary health care to women in rural area, and contributing to their socialization process to cope with their social problems; b) The contribution to improving the health education of rural children, and enriching their lives with social and cultural activities; c) increase the awareness of young people in order to reduce cases of IST, HIV/SIDA, drugs and alcohol.