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Uzbekistan healthcare expenditure on the rise

Uzbekistan's increase in healthcare expenditure is being paralleled by the increase in new facilities being built to help realise the government's aim of boosting the wellbeing of people across the country.

Whereas in 1999 the annual health budget stood at just 65.1 billion UZS ($28 million), it has now risen to 4.2 trillion UZS ($1.8 billion), and this trend is set to continue in subsequent years.

This significant injection of finding has translated not only into more medical centres across Uzbekistan, but also into more modern medical equipment, which has had a major impact on helping to boost the welfare of the nation.

Essential services

This was recently highlighted by Health Ministry spokesman Anvar Khakimov, who said that increases in Uzbekistan's overall state budget and economic growth are enabling more funds to be allocated towards developing medical services for the public.

Mr Khakimov said that citizens' welfare is a "national priority", with healthcare financing constantly growing in order to keep up with demand.

One telling statistic is that just four years ago, only half of specialised medical centres had adequate equipment, but this now stands at 92 per cent, with plans in place to boost this to 100 per cent in the near future.

Furthermore, over the past three years, 300 new medical institutions have opened across Uzbekistan, each of which are fitted out with the facilities and equipment required to treat patients in need.

Furthermore, the quality of medical services and the professionalism of doctors has risen noticeably; whereas in the 1990s, state clinics had questionable conditions, they have been replaced with new buildings, modern equipment and attentive staff - something that has not been lost on the patients who visit the facilities, with satisfaction and outcomes increasing dramatically.

New initiatives

Complementing this drive has been a number of initiatives to help boost wellbeing, with 2014 designated the 'Year of Healthy Child' by President Islam Karimov, who also unveiled a 5.1 trillion UZS (US $2.2 billion) fund that will benefit more than 2.5 million children.

As well as being used to train new doctors and increase awareness, a significant amount of funding has been set aside to build further medical facilities with a specific emphasis on boosting child health

Commenting on the the Year of Healthy Child, Mr Khakimov said the country needs to raise a "physically healthy, fit generation".

"To implement the programme, the government appropriated not only budgetary funds, but also received donations from international organisations and foundations, as well as from private entrepreneurs," he explained.

Workers are not only building new facilities, but rebuilding many maternity centres, peadiatric centres, family clinics and large medical centres.

"There are now almost 140 facilities targeting children's ailments," Mr Khakimov stated. "This year, they'll vaccinate about 200,000 children against various infectious diseases and examine about 2.6 million preschoolers."

In addition to the construction of new centres, Uzbekistan is also developing a roving pharmacy system that offers a more easily-accessible alternative to bricks-and-mortar facilities, though the long-term aim is to build more permanent facilities that will continue to boost the wellbeing of the population and solidify the healthcare system's standing.

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