NEWS AND EVENTS
November 19, 2013
Wide ranging projects on promotion of health in progress in Uzbekistan
11th of November Uzbekistan has marked the Day of Healthcare Workers for the seventh time. Nowadays, this date is more than just a professional holiday of the representatives of one of numerous professions; it is a proof that improvement of the healthcare system is the priority of social policy.
A PROFESSIONAL HOLIDAY
Over 390,000 citizens of Uzbekistan, of which more than 72,000 are doctors and 310,000 are middle medical staff, devote their professional activity to protecting people’s health. Largely due to their everyday selfless work the quality of medical service is improving across the republic.
Qualified medical aid has become more accessible. The attendance of primary health care facilities has increased almost thrice over the past decade, primarily as a result of the launch of rural health units. National specialized centers increasingly handle the high-tech operations. Most importantly, maternal and infant mortality is falling, life expectancy is growing. Over the past 20 years, the average life expectancy has increased from 67 to 73 years.
Uzbekistan ranks among the few countries where the professional holiday of medical workers is marked on the state level. Under the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan of September 12, 2006, it is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of November.
It is symbolic that main celebrations on this occasion are annually held at the Tashkent Institute of Advanced Medical Studies, since practicing of each health worker is interlinked with advancement of his professional skill. This is the approach of the set of measures to comply with the Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan ‘On intensifying reformation of healthcare system’ and other regulatory and legislative acts in healthcare.
HEALTHY MOTHER IMPLIES A HEALTHY CHILD
From the first steps of independent development Uzbekistan has been assigning a big part to the improvement of system of maternal and child healthcare as a key position in strengthening of the nation’s gene pool and health. Over the last fifteen years all maternity hospitals have been rehabilitated and equipped with modern medical facilities; a network of mother and child screening and perinatal centers was established. This has contributed to a three-fold reduction of maternal and infant mortality, and a 14% reduction in the birth of children with congenital diseases.
Building of preventive healthcare system played a landmark role in shaping the healthy generation. The country has a standard of compulsory medical examination for marriage, there are ongoing programs on prevention of the diseases caused by iodine and iron deficiency, all pregnant women from rural areas are provided with free multivitamin health-improving medicines. The vaccination of children under the National Vaccination Calendar ensures a reliable protection against many infectious diseases. It provides almost a hundred percent coverage.
At the current stage, Uzbekistan stakes on the further development of the system of early detection of congenital and hereditary diseases to prevent the birth of disabled children. There is a related program for 2013-2017. The number of regional screening centers will increase. For ten years, such institutions have been established in almost all regions, except for Tashkent region. It will also have its own center to improve the detection of congenital and hereditary diseases. It is needed in the region. This work will involve rural health units and polyclinics, where pregnant women are under community-based medical supervision. All women at early stages of pregnancy will be examined in regional screening centers by means of modern ultrasound diagnostic equipment.
The Republican Screening Center is introducing a tandem mass spectrometer, the first in the country method of detection of congenital and hereditary diseases by a drop of blood, which allows testing a newborn for 20 diseases that develop on the background of violations of amino acid metabolism. Besides, as part of the program the screening centers will be equipped with biochemical analyzers for confirming diagnostics of a range of hereditary diseases of the neuromuscular system and pathological conditions accompanied by skeletal deformities. In addition, the mother and child screening service is expecting the launch of introduction of molecular genetic technologies. It is worth noting that today the screening centers both identify the diseases and provides a remedial therapy.
Big investments are forwarded to the development of pediatric services. Much is currently being done to ensure their operation at the advanced level. Construction and installation works are underway not only in the regional diversified children’s medical centers, but also in the National Specialized Research Medical Center of Pediatrics and the hospital of the Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute. The upgraded buildings will be supplied with modern high-tech diagnostic and treatment equipment. It is purchased by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the German KfW-Bank.
Development of primary health care is in the spotlight. 18 new rural health units have been built in the most remote areas of Qashqadaryo and Surkhondaryo regions this year. Ministry of Health carries out a scaled complex of measures to improve the quality of medical services in other institutions of the same kind as well. Reorganization of district polyclinics into family polyclinics continues in the cities. In the course of reformation they will be provided with new medical equipment and shifted to the new system of financing, which will be determined on the basis of sex and age composition of serviced population.
The government budget has allocated a total of 311 billion soums(Currency rates of CB from 19.11.2013 1$=2186.96 soums) this year to enhance the financial and technological capacity of medical institutions, for their building and reconstruction. The list of institutions for overhaul and reconstruction includes mainly the institutions of regional medical associations. Besides, under the Health-3 project, which is implemented jointly by the Ministry of Health and the World Bank, the abovementioned institutions are supplied with new medical equipment.
Development of emergency medicine is an important part of improvement of the healthcare system. This year the ‘emergency aid’ fleet has been replenished with 100 vehicles for line crews and 30 resuscitation ambulances. The Republican Research Center of Emergency Medicine is getting prepared for the installation of a magnetic resonance tomography device. Along with that, in the near future the center, its affiliates and district units will be additionally equipped with other medical devices, including artificial respirators.
Jointly with the Islamic Development Bank the Ministry of Health carries out a large-scale project on equipping the institutions of oncology service with modern high-tech equipment. This year, the National Cancer Research Centre and the regional cancer clinics are getting prepared for the installation of new equipment, the delivery of which is expected for 2014. They will be supplied with new linear accelerators, gamma-therapeutic devices, dosimetry equipment, computer tomography, laparoscopic equipment, PCR analyzers and kits for immunohistochemical and oncology marker examinations.
A scaled optimization of TB facilities and equipping them with modern equipment is underway. To date, the reconstruction of the Republican Specialized Research Medical Center of Tuberculosis and Pulmonology has been completed; housing development is underway on the territory of regional affiliates of the service. This year, doctors have been supplied with new diagnostic devices which in few hours provide not just an accurate diagnosis, but also select the most optimal treatment for the patient.
The activity of two other specialized medical centers is concurrently streamlined as well. National centers of cardiology, surgery, eye microsurgery, urology, treatment and rehabilitation, dermatology and venereology, endocrinology, as well as regional diversified medical centers undergo scaled transformations.
Today, everyone is free to choose where and how to get treatment. The domestic medical institutions are increasingly attractive in the service market. For several years the leading specialized centers have been active participants in the Tashkent International Tourism Fair ‘Tourism on the Silk Road’. Some of them provide treatment to citizens of other countries.
The national healthcare system and the work of local doctors are highly appreciated by outstanding foreign experts. As Margaret Chen, Director General of the World Health Organization underlined at the International Symposium ‘National Model of Maternal and Child Health in Uzbekistan ‘Healthy mother implies a healthy child’ in Tashkent:
“Uzbekistan can be proud of the fact that the indicators of health of its population do not get worse, but on the contrary, there is an increase in life expectancy even in the conditions of global crises.”
The high expertise of local doctors has been repeatedly spotlighted by foreign experts at international conferences. At international forums they are usually judged by their reports and publications. When the meetings take place on the territory of Uzbekistan, foreign experts estimate our doctors by their practical activities.
(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)