Uzbekistan, with the support of WHO/Europe, has begun offering tax-based health protection under a pilot scheme in the country’s Syrdarya region. The provision of state health insurance is part of the national health sector reforms announced in 2020, to transform the health service delivery model and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage in the country.
The Syrdarya pilot project, which will operate until the end of 2022, aims to strengthen service delivery in primary health care to ensure that patients are treated more efficiently. It also aims to restructure service delivery in hospitals, using digital health information systems to address the high expenditure associated with tertiary level care.
At the launch, held 1 July in the Syrdarya region, Dr Farrukh Sharipov, Director of the State Health Insurance Fund, commented on the milestone, noting, “The State Health Insurance Fund was an initiative of the President of Uzbekistan and now embodies the vision of the Government of Uzbekistan to improve the health and well-being of all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay.”
Essential health services for all
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Uzbekistan established the State Health Insurance Fund under the Cabinet of Ministers, which will become a strategic purchaser of health services. It will guarantee an essential package of health services for everyone, by increasing coverage and reducing financial hardship.
Dr Amrillo Inoyatov, First Deputy Minister of Health, said, “This pilot project will provide a good platform for the revision of the current health service delivery models and the introduction of new evidence-based approaches in health care. With the Fund, the Ministry is creating a modern system of payment, whereby health service providers will be compensated for the outputs they deliver. Information systems will be at the core of this new system.”
The development of the pilot project was supported by WHO in part through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC-P) with contributions by the European Union (EU); Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; Irish Aid; Government of Japan; French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs; Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Belgium; and the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund, a joint endeavour supported by the EU, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.