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Kazakhstan: Moving from “learning best practices” to “implementing best practices”

December 5, 2011

Mid-term results of the “Health Sector Technology Transfer and Institutional Reform” project were discussed at a high-level round table in Astana. The event was attended by members of Parliament, Minister of Health Salidat Kairbekova, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan Sebnem Akkaya, representatives of WHO, UNICEF, USAID, CDC, representatives of oblast health authorities, health sector organizations, including medical universities, governmental and nongovernmental organizations. 

The event was a conclusion of the two-week mid-term review conducted jointly by the Ministry of Health and World Bank experts. The results and recommendations on each project component have been discussed within a series of workshops and consultations held from November 1 through 8, 2011. 

This comprehensive five-year project launched in Kazakhstan in 2008 deals with all aspects of health sector reform, including health financing and budgeting, health care quality improvement, reform of medical education and medical science, health information system development, pharmaceutical policy reform, food safety and WTO accession. The Ministry of Health and its subordinate organizations are implementing the project in partnership with leading international consulting companies.

Minister of Health Salidat Kairbekova highlighted good results that have been achieved on many aspects of the health reform agenda. In particular, she noted the introduction of modern provider payment mechanisms, being introduced to enhance the autonomy of hospital management, a national system of accreditation of medical institutions that was introduced in 2009, and much emphasis was put on the health management information system component.

The World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan Sebnem Akkaya, stressed the World Bank's readiness to further contribute to the development of Kazakhstan's reforms, saying that, “International experience shows that reform in the sector takes a long time and is more successful when there is a consistent approach to policy formulation and implementation based on sound analysis.  This project is a valuable tool in this respect providing support for evidenced-based policy formulation and implementation”.

Ms. Akkaya highlighted comprehensive reforms in Kazakhstan, and reiterated that support from other sectors will greatly contribute to the ultimate success of the reforms.

Vice Minister of Health Aida Kurmangaliyeva and the World Bank Project Team Leader Nedim Jaganjac presented more detailed analysis of the work performed, including a long-term Action Plan in the light of the objectives of the State Health Care Development Program for 2011-2015 "Salamatty Kazakhstan".

“It is evident from the dialogue in this mid-term review that significant progress has been made in the definition and options for each of the elements of the health sector reform envisaged in the Salamatti Kazakhstan,” said Nedim Jaganjac, World Bank Project Team Leader, emphasizing that, When we move from learning best practices to implementing best practices, we must be careful that implementation follows a careful approach to sequencing of the key reforms identified by Salamatti Kazakhstan”.

When there is a will, there is a way. Efforts to modernize and establish international standards in several areas are well underway in Kazakhstan. This include: accreditation system improvements at different levels of the system; quality enhancement and reform of the laboratory service (a key backbone of the health system); upgrading of clinical practices and technologies; reform of the blood transfusion system; medical education and reforms of medical science; and pharmaceutical policy reform. Every component of the project has identified technology and information as an important element of successful implementation of the reforms. 

Initially the project was designed to support the State Health Reform and Development Program for 2005-2010. Now, with the development of the "Salamatty Kazakhstan” State Program, goals have not changed. Project activities will facilitate effective implementation of key provisions of the new strategic document. In this regard, the Minister of Health proposed synchronization of project duration with the State Program up to 2015.