In Kazakhstan: Helping Overhaul the Health System
Health Sector Technology Transfer and Institutional Reform Project
July 18, 2013
Antonina Savina says she knew she wanted to have her second baby at Astana’s City Perinatal Center #1. And when the baby, Anastasia, was born at 35 weeks, she knew she’d chosen well. “All the doctors and nurses were very helpful, very human. They helped swaddle the baby, that’s important because the baby was premature.”
With support from the World Bank, Kazakhstan is improving the efficiency and quality of its health system. The Ministry of Health is working to bring Kazakhstan in line with international standards for safety and quality of health services.
At the City Polyclinic #7, doctors and nurses sew up a cut hand and, upstairs, do a stress test. In order to apply to get accreditation based on upgraded facility standards, developed as part of the World Bank funded project, this clinic has gotten new equipment, and training on patient flow management.
Once we got this new equipment, we can do diagnoses ourselves, without sending patients over to other medical centers. That saves time for us and for the patients as well.
One of the aims here is to get more patients into outpatient care, instead of having them check into the clinic for long stays. “Once we got this new equipment, we can do diagnoses ourselves, without sending patients over to other medical centers. That saves time for us and for the patients as well,” says Dr. Gulnar Omargaliyeva, an ophthalmologist at the City Polyclinic #7.
And, since the professional and efficient management of a health facility plays an important role in improving care, Kazakhstan also set up the Health Management MBA Program in 2012, to train the next generation of managers.
From Call Centers to Microscopes
Another part of the project targets prescription of drugs. Kazakhstan has set up a new call center, one of 16 nation-wide, where patients and health care professionals can get information about prescription drugs and how they work. The center got about 23,000 inquiries in 2012. The goal here is to cut down on people self-medicating and on the overuse of antibiotics as well as spending on prescription drugs. The center also informs callers about their rights to free drugs, if they qualify, under the State Guaranteed Free Medical Care Program.
I am impressed the center has all the modern equipment and the medial people have high standards.
The focus is on safety and quality of care across the board. More than 70,000 health workers have gotten training, and Nurgul Sabitova, the new mother of a baby boy, says it shows. “I’m impressed the center has all the modern equipment and the medial people have high standards.”
Dr. Sholpan Kozhakhmetova, the Quality Assurance Coordinator at the Perinatal Center #1, agrees. “Our goal is that the baby, from the very first day of his life, is happy, as well as his mother and his family.”
Meanwhile, the work at the clinic, and on Kazakhstan’s overall health system continues.
Other aspects of reform supported by the project target health financing, budgeting and management, health information system development, food safety and accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
By 2015, the project will help Kazakhstan build long-term institutional capacity in health care for the benefit of the country’s 17 million population.