Turkmenistan Medical Insurance
Turkmenistan is a Central Asian country and was the southernmost member of the Soviet Union. It is bordered by Uzbekistan to the north and east, Kazakhstan to the northwest, the Caspian Sea to the west and Iran and Afghanistan to the south. Primarily a desert country, it has a population of around five million people. Turkmenistan is an important supplier of raw materials, its hydrocarbon reserves are thought to be the fourth largest in the world. Despite its gas wealth, much of Turkmenistan's population is still impoverished. After it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan entered a period of isolation that has only recently begun to end. It is a one-party state dominated by the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, which was led by the iconic President Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in December 2006. Kurbanguly Berdymuhamedov was elected his successor and has abstained from Niyazov’s cult of personality while continuing to use Turkmenistan’s raw material wealth to strengthen the state. Travelers to Turkmenistan can embark on a number of unique experiences; be it the ancient cities of Merv and Dekhistan, the Karakum Desert, or the modern gold and marble laden capital city Ashbagat.
The health care system of Turkmenistan is administered on a centralized national basis. The Cabinet of Ministers, chaired by the Turkmen President, establishes healthcare strategy while the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry is responsible for the actual operation of medical services. The health care system is funded directly through government revenues. However, finances were becoming increasingly sparse under previous administrations as the government siphoned money out of public social programs to fund other convoluted infrastructure projects. The management of the health care system continues to be bureaucratic and hierarchical. As during the soviet period, preordained standards continue to determine decisions on public health policy be it the establishment of new facilities, on budgeting or staffing levels etc. A state voluntary insurance scheme exists to provide discounts on in-patient treatment, out-patient prescriptions as well as choice of physician. Un-insured individuals must pay the full cost of outpatient prescriptions and dental treatment and have no right to choose their family doctor. They do not have pay for basic hospital treatment, although they will face much longer waiting times. Locally provided private health insurance plans are not currently available in Turkmenistan.
Primary health care clinics are the most dispersed and accessible facilities across most of the country. Despite the positive extension of this infrastructure, the physical and sanitary conditions of the rural health centers, in particular, are very poor and medical supplies are scarce. Hospitals in Turkmenistan are available to provide secondary and more specialized care to its patients. Hospitals in the country may be grouped as follows: rural hospitals (primary health care clinics), etrap (district) hospitals, city hospitals, velayat (regional) hospitals and central clinical hospitals. Velayat/Regional hospitals are located in the administrative centre of their region and better supplied with more specialized personnel and medical equipment than Etrap/District hospitals, which provide only basic care. Central hospitals are located in the capital to deliver specialized tertiary care only by accepting referrals from other areas. Hospitals do not admit patients unless they are referred from primary care medical centers, except emergency cases or patients who are willing to pay. Informal payments for hospital service are in fact widespread and should be expected, even if you have travelers insurance. There are very few private clinics in Turkmenistan, usually only made available through foreign diplomatic channels in Ashbagat.
The overall quality of health care within Turkmenistan is poor and well below North American and Western European standards. Comprehensive Turkmenistan health insurance plans are recommended for all foreign nationals who may visit or reside in the country. Medical facilities are in poor condition with outdated equipment and a limited stock of necessary pharmaceuticals. These problems are exacerbated the farther you get from Ashbagat. There is also a considerable shortage of adequately trained medical professionals within the country. All visitors to Turkmenistan are advised to purchase medical evacuation insurance to cover costs associated with transporting them to adequate medical facilities in the event of serious illness or critical injury. An evacuation will be expensive if undertaken under emergency conditions, and absent this insurance, ambulance service may be logistically impossible. Travel within Turkmenistan is difficult due to poor road infrastructure and government-imposed movement restrictions.
Ensure that all your vaccinations are up to date before you travel to Turkmenistan. Typhoid and Hepatitis A are endemic and there have been sporadic reported cases of Polio outbreaks within the interior of the country. Travelers should be advised to bring a first-aid-kit and ample stock of prescriptions they may need. It is also important to refrain from drinking unfiltered water, unpasteurised milk or any raw meats. If you suffer from diarrhea during a visit to Turkmenistan you should seek immediate medical attention.
In a medical emergency, English-speaking travelers may contact the Peace Corps medical unit at 35-46-31 from 9 AM to 5:30 PM. For after-hours emergencies, Turkmen and Russian speakers may contact the Central Hospital at 45-03-33 or the Niyazov Hospital (intensive care unit) at 43-19-16 or 43-25-12.
Pacific Prime will consult and offer a wide range of policies to meet your individual needs should you plan to travel to Turkmenistan. We offer a wide variety of health care plans and travel insurance policies with possible benefit packages including dental, maternity, inpatient, outpatient, specialist consultations, and many more. Please contact our professional advisors today for a free quote and enjoy the security that our extensive Health Insurance Plans can provide.