Three years ago, Guzal Umirkhanova’s life suddenly got easier.
The mother of two, who had to take her children to different clinics in Tashkent for medical care before, was relieved to find that a clinic had the facilities to treat her and both her children.
The family polyclinic # 23 was one of several that benefited from new, modern equipment and training for all its general practitioners as part of the World Bank’s Health-2 Project (2004-2011) in the country, in line with a broader rural social infrastructure development approach of the Government of Uzbekistan. The World Bank project evolved with the country’s primary health care reform strategy, and focused on streamlining redirecting savings to create a sustainable network of integrated primary care services. It financed several primary health care facilities, and provided for health care on a per-capita basis, which meant that funds were used better to serve the needy.
As part of the project, 2,389 rural health clinics were helped with equipment, while 3,770 general practitioners were trained in 10- month courses, so they could help patients of all ages. One of the most important project’s achievements was its contribution to the health financing reforms through the introduction of per capita financing for primary healthcare.
Today, the family polyclinic #23 that Umirkhanova goes to in Tashkent serves 7,454 families, or nearly 33,000 patients, both children and adults.
“This clinic was one of the pilot clinics to switch to per capita financing in 2007,” - says one of the health care professionals. “Before that, planning and budgeting were centralized. Our Chief Doctor and accountant have been trained on financial management issues and we can now manage our own budget. And the amount of per capita financing is growing, too, – in 2008 it was 14,000 soums and now it is 30,000 soums, which is enough to cover our costs and buy necessary equipment”.
“We have everything in place now, - adds representative of the Ministry of Health, - clinics, trained general practitioners, equipment. The only thing is to make people feel responsible for their own health, visit our clinics, take timely examination. Our focus now should be on preventive care, promotion of sports, and healthy life style.”
Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, visited the polyclinic #23 during her visit to Uzbekistan in early February 2014. “I am very glad to see your focus on preventive care,” she said. “We continue to work in the health sector in Uzbekistan, so please continue to define the challenges and we would continue helping.”