Uzbekistan moves forward to develop a national Health 2020 strategy

WHO

(From left) Prof. Recep Akdag, former Minister of Health of Turkey, Prof. Laziz Tuychiev, Deputy Minister of Health of Uzbekistan, and Dr Asmus Hammerich, Head of WHO Country Office, Uzbekistan, attend national intersectoral meetings held in Tashkent on 14-15 May 2014

Uzbekistan is the latest country in the WHO European Region to embark on the process of developing a national Health 2020 strategy. With the support of the Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Dr Adkham Ilkhamovich Ikramov, and the country’s Minister of Health, Dr Anvar Valiyevich Alimov, a national intersectoral meeting was held on the 14 May 2014 in Tashkent. The aim of this meeting was to strengthen whole-of-government actions towards health and well-being, under the implementation of the European policy framework for health and well-being, Health 2020.

Promoting intersectoral action for health

Participants from the Ministry of Health, other government sectors, nongovernmental organizations and international organizations attended the event.  There was a lively and constructive debate about how a national Health 2020 strategy could add value in Uzbekistan.  Despite the country’s great progress towards universal health coverage, there was agreement that Uzbekistan’s health challenges cannot be solved by the health care sector alone. Actions in all government sectors, and in all of society, shape the health and well-being of the population. Participants agreed that an overarching national whole-of-government strategy for health is required to improve the health of the people. It was also clear that many of the building blocks of a Health 2020 strategy for Uzbekistan already exist.  These mainly include the recent developments of a national noncommunicable diseases action plan, and maternal and child health strategy.  In this context, Uzbekistan’s Health 2020 strategy will act as a framework with the objective to unite and reinforce the existing health strategies and plans, as well as reach beyond the health care sector.

WHO/Europe will support Uzbekistan as it develops its new national strategy. The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, will visit the country in the upcoming months to follow its progress. As further evidence of the commitment to the Health 2020 process, Uzbekistan has also expressed interest in hosting a sub-regional launch of the policy framework Health 2020 and its associated studies at the end of October 2014. This event will give the country an opportunity to share its ongoing progress in implementing Health 2020 with an international audience.

Taking forward the tobacco control agenda

On 15 May 2014, a national intersectoral meeting on the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was held in Tashkent. The meeting was attended by the majority of key government partners under the leadership of the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan. Discussions identified current strengths of the WHO FCTC implementation but also work lying ahead towards the full implementation of the Treaty by Uzbekistan. As a result of these discussions, it became clear that the national tobacco control agenda would benefit from the intersectoral problem-solving approach taken by the national Health 2020 strategy, for example in the area of tax policies for tobacco products.