Armenia health system performance assessment 2009
Armenia, like many other countries, faces significant health challenges. It is crucial for the country to continue consolidating and advancing reforms of the health system. Two new reports, published on 26th February 2010 entitled “Armenia Health System Performance Assessment” and “Armenia National Health Accounts”, prepared by the Armenian Ministry of Health with the support of WHO and the World Bank, further contribute to the health system strengthening efforts of the Government.
These reports make recommendations for developing a comprehensive national health care system improvement agenda in Armenia, based on the analysis of the country’s challenges, as well as the systems, mechanisms and institutional capacity in place for addressing them effectively. They will be used as a tool for regular policy formulation and adjustment.
The reports show that as a result of a sustained public investment increase in the health sector preceding the 2009 economic crisis, a number of health indicators have improved in recent years. Child, infant and neonatal mortality have decreased substantially, and life expectancy at birth has increased. Furthermore, the country is in the midst of carrying out significant institutional and structural health care reforms. The implementation of primary health care reforms and optimization of the hospital network in regions are instrumental to achieving the country’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The “Health system performance assessment” report indicates that the key challenge remaining is the high burden of out-of-pocket payments for a significant number of people. This creates barriers to access to health care when people need it, and explains why 25 percent of the poorest people cannot yet access the services they need, despite the improved access to health care in general and to primary care services in particular. The report advises that increase in public health and health promotion expenditures, still considerably lower than in other European countries, coupled with well-targeted investments in the health sector, will greatly help improve health and equity in the country.
In attendance at the launch of the report, the country’s Minister of Health, Harutyun Qushkyan, said “Such reports bring us invaluable information about performance of the health system, which we need to use and translate into actions to improve our operations”.