Did you know that pneumonia, hypertension and many other conditions can be effectively treated by your family doctor?

These and other conditions like diabetes, influenza and asthma are each examples of ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) – those health conditions where appropriate care can prevent or reduce the need for hospital admissions – analyzed by representatives of the Ministry of Health, high-level policy-makers and health care providers from across Kazakhstan as part of ongoing national health service delivery strengthening exercises.

During a two-day workshop on 19-22 May 2014, improving the coordination/integration of providers, updating of clinical guidelines and protocols, developing new competencies for health professionals and enhancing the role of information technologies were among those identified by participants as core areas of potential focus, each orienting the delivery of health services towards the provision of care designed and organized around the individual and according to their needs. Putting people at the centre of care ultimately promotes a primary health care approach, avoiding expensive and inappropriate hospital admissions for the largely preventable acute hospital activity related to ACSCs.

Based on three tracer conditions – influenza, hypertension and urinary tract infection –participants of the workshop discussed those features of health services and the health system in Kazakhstan that can be improved in order for family doctors and nurses to provide better services when visited. WHO will technically support Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health to apply innovative mechanisms that ensure health professionals’ skills and competencies are improved such that high-quality primary health care services can promote a decrease in unnecessary referrals to hospitals.

Studying service delivery transformations across the Region

What are the measures commonly applied towards more coordinated/integrated delivery systems? What drives these changes and how is this process led overtime? These questions are among those guiding the ongoing study of initiatives to strengthen the coordination/integration of health services delivery across Member States – an exercise documenting practices towards an enriched, evidence-based reserve of those common areas for action and measures put in place to strengthen health service delivery systems.

Since late-2013, staff and a team of researchers continue to engage frontline health workers leading changes in their practice as well as health managers and regional authorities overseeing transformations and national policy-makers defining overarching policy changes to consolidate their experiences and insights and glean lessons from implementation.

If you are part of or familiar with an initiative being led in the WHO European Region, please connect with staff of the Health Services Delivery Programme to explore how this can be captured in our work at CIHSD@euro.who.int.