Policy seminar in Kyrgyzstan connects universal coverage and service delivery modernization

WHO/Artur Buiuklianov

From left: Gulmira Kudaiberdieva, Head of Social Policy in President’s Administration; Dinara Sagynbaeva, Minister of Health; Jantoro Satybaldiev, Prime Minister; Kamila Talieva, Vice Prime Minister; Ratbek Eshmambetov ,Head of Office of the Parliament; and Karl Lauterbach, Member of the German Parliament

The Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan, with support from WHO, recently held a high-level senior policy seminar to discuss the key health system issues of universal coverage and service delivery modernization.  Almost 100 participants attended the seminar on 29–30 November 2012.

This event is part of a series of activities to support Member States in moving towards universal coverage led by WHO/Europe with support from WHO headquarters and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

Prevention, detection and management of chronic diseases

The keynote session began with a focus on improving the prevention, detection and management of chronic diseases by promoting primary health care and aligning health financing mechanisms on both the population (demand) and health professional (supply) sides.  Professor Karl Lauterbach, Member of the German Parliament and head of its health committee, explained Germany´s efforts to improve chronic disease management.  He underlined that while resources made a difference, it was more important to organize care the right way and provide economic incentives in order to change the behaviour of health workers and the population alike.

Universal coverage

The importance of universal coverage to ensure good health for all and the vital role for public financing in moving towards universal coverage, was also discussed. 

Speaking on this issue, Jantoro Satybaldiev, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, highlighted the importance of the efficient use of resources, particularly in a country with limited fiscal space.

“We may not have a lot of resources to fund the health system, but let´s make sure we use those resources as efficiently as possible, with as little waste as possible,” he said.

Experts emphasized that the Kyrgyz model of health financing was seen worldwide as a pioneer of reform, but tough decisions lay ahead.  Lower tax revenues anticipated in the future would have to be covered by efficiency improvements in the health system and a more pro-poor design of the State Guaranteed Benefit Package.

Health system governance

Finally, the session touched upon health sector governance issues such as roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Health and Mandatory Health Insurance Fund, as well as provider autonomy issues.  The need to strengthen accountability mechanisms was underlined, with competitive appointment processes at all levels of the sector.

In addition to Jantoro Satybaldiev, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, the keynote session was attended by Kamila Talieva, Vice Prime Minister for Social Affairs, Gulmira Kudaiberdieva, Head of Social Policy in the President´s Administration, Ratbek Eshmambetov, Head of the Office of the Parliament, oblast governors, experts from the Ministry of Health, Mandatory Health Insurance Fund (MHIF) and Ministry of Finance, and included a welcome note by Almazbek Atambayev, President of Kyrgyzstan.

Joint Annual Review

Discussions at the senior policy seminar informed the Joint Annual Review, held from 3–7 December 2012. During the Review, 2013 plans of work were agreed in the areas of cardiovascular diseases, maternal and child health, tuberculosis, and HIV, as well as in cross-cutting health system strengthening issues. The Review is held twice a year to enable key health sector stakeholders and development partners to evaluate jointly progress in key sector goals and agree on future directions.