Kyrgyzstan Falls Behind in Healthcare Reform

The healthcare system in Kyrgyzstan has recently garnered negative attention for its inability to accommodate its own elderly citizenry. Though general healthcare, in addition more specialized healthcare, surgery and hospital care are technically free within Kyrgyzstan, the government does not provide enough funding to cover the needs of some of its most vulnerable populaces, including children and the elderly. The situation has become desire that Eurasia Net reports that private donations are keeping aspects of the Kyrgyz healthcare system, which currently invests only $83 into each of its citizens, afloat.

The report documents additional problems, such as overstretched and inefficient ambulance services (33 ambulances for a population of one million in Bishkek), and case-by-case judgments made telephonically by physicians over whether or not a patient is or is not deserving of hospital care. Many physicians are underpaid and overworked, facts that have increased corruption and underground medical treatment available only to those wealthy enough to afford it. Often ineffective treatments with alternative medicine have risen, as access to traditional medicine has been significantly diminished.

The Kyrgyz healthcare system had previously been described as being in a state of flux, with widespread changes being made and funding increased. The circumstances, however, suggest that promises of reform have not made a measurable impact on the country’s healthcare concerns, and fail to accommodate an ever more numerous population. Previous “reforms” made in 2006 and 2010 did much to turn the opinion of healthcare NGOs and organizations such as the World Health Organization in their favor, but have thus far failed to solve many of the country’s most serious issues.

News Briefs:

  • Courts in Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe upheld a ruling that sentenced journalist Olga Tutubalina a sum of $6,000 for “insulting the country’s intelligentsia,” a charge that Tutbalina has denied and instead attributed to corruption within the Tajik government. The fee has been classified as an attack on free speech by members of the international press.
  • Governments in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have brokered an agreement that clearly delineates frontiers separating the two countries. The issues of border security have become increasingly important in light of recent disputes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as to the issue of energy security; energy reservoirs found near the countries’ borders have provided all parties strong motivation to clearly demarcate their borders.
  • Central Asia Online profiles the efforts of Afghan tribe members to resist recruiting attempts made by the Taliban and militant group Lashkar-e-Islam in rural Afghanistan. Militant groups have traditionally relied on rural populations to replenish their ranks, but recent efforts by tribesmen to relocate into areas where militant influence lesser indicate that the Taliban doctrine has lost at least some of its luster.
  • Turkmenistan has begun discussions with officials in Turkey on whether or not to construct an international seaport in the Turkmen city of Turkmenbashi. If implemented, the seaport would allow for greater trade cooperation between Asia and Europe.
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