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Health care system in Kazakhstan

Since becoming independent, Kazakhstan has undertaken major efforts in reforming its post-Soviet health system. Two comprehensive reform programmes were developed in the 2000s: the National Programme for Health Care Reform and Development 2005-2010 and the State Health Care Development Programme for 2011-2015 Salamatty Kazakhstan. Changes in health service provision included a reduction of the hospital sector and an increased emphasis on primary health care. However, inpatient facilities continue to consume the bulk of health financing. Partly resulting from changing perspectives on decentralization, levels of pooling kept changing. After a spell of devolving health financing to the rayon level in 2000-2003, beginning in 2004 a new health financing system was set up that included pooling of funds at the oblast level, establishing the oblast health department as the single-payer of health services. Since 2010, resources for hospital services under the State Guaranteed Benefits Package have been pooled at the national level within the framework of implementing the Concept on the Unified National Health Care System. Kazakhstan has also embarked on promoting evidence-based medicine and developing and introducing new clinical practice guidelines, as well as facility-level quality improvements. However, key aspects of health system performance are still in dire need of improvement. One of the key challenges is regional inequities in health financing, health care utilization and health outcomes, although some improvements have been achieved in recent years. Despite recent investments and reforms, however, population health has not yet improved substantially.

In Kazakhstan, ownership of the health care system is mainly in public hands.

The public hospitals share of total hospital capacity has remained relatively stable (about 70%) for decades. There are also privately owned for-profit hospitals as well as government hospitals in some locations, mainly owned by county and city governments.

There is a nationwide system of government-owned medical facilities open to the general public. The national Department of Defense operates field hospitals as well as permanent hospitals (the Military Health System), to provide military-funded care to active military personnel.

Hospitals provide some outpatient care in their emergency rooms and specialty clinics, but primarily exist to provide inpatient care. Hospital emergency departmentsand urgent care centers are sources of sporadic problem-focused care. Hospice services for the terminally ill who are expected to live six months or less are most commonly subsidized by charities and government. Prenatal, family planning care is government-funded obstetric and gynecologic specialty and provided in primary care facilities, and are usually staffed by nurse practitioners (midwives).

A big share of medical health care is delivered through a vast network of primary care facilities called ambulatories and policlinics.

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