Health in Uzbekistan
Known for its stunning architecture and unrivaled mountainous scenery, Uzbekistan is an ideal location for expats who appreciate culture, history, and nature. However, gaining access to quality healthcare in the country can be both difficult and expensive. Here are the key things you need to know about the healthcare system in Uzbekistan.
Healthcare in Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia that was a part of the former Soviet Union until December 1991. Similar to many other former Soviet Union countries, Uzbekistan’s health sector has suffered since the loss of the former Soviet Union government’s subsidies and support. Here are the two key challenges the country’s healthcare system faces:
- Overall lack of medical facilities: The ratio of hospital beds to the population has decreased by 50 percent from 1992 to 2003. In addition, the emigration of skilled professionals, including physicians and nurses, has left the country with a critical shortage of medical personnel.
- Overall lack of vaccines, medicines, and supplies: In a 1995 study, public hospitals only had 20 percent of the medicine needed to adequately treat the population. In 1993, only 40 percent of children were vaccinated for diphtheria, pertussis, measles, and polio. This is a drastic drop from 1990, where 80 to 90 percent of children were vaccinated against these diseases.
In Uzbekistan, there is a national healthcare plan which guarantees citizens the right to access free healthcare. Since its independence, the Uzbek government has been trying to reform and improve its healthcare system. In 2006, the government allocated 11.1 percent of the state budget to the healthcare sector. Since then, there has been a gradual increase in Uzbek healthcare spending.
Despite this increased healthcare spending, service is still slow and limited, which has led to a surge in corruption and bribery as a method of circumventing the state system. Current practices of corruption and inefficient management are now extremely similar to those in place during the Soviet Union era. Although all hospitals are meant to be free of charge and available to all citizens, there remains a select few that cater to the elite members of Uzbekistan’s society.
Uzbekistan’s public healthcare system is administered centrally. The current focus of the government is to improve women's and children’s health, protect the environment, and to further develop primary medical services in a bid to improve the overall health of the population.
Expats in Uzbekistan
Now that you know what to expect with regard to healthcare in Uzbekistan, here are the essential key preparations you need to make before moving to this Central Asian country.
Moving to Uzbekistan
Travelers and expatriates visiting Uzbekistan are advised to purchase an international health insurance policy before arriving in the country. Expatriates and visitors are able to use all health facilities in Uzbekistan. However, the prices will be higher than it is for locals. Private hospitals and clinics can be quite expensive. In addition, even the country’s best private health centers may not meet the standards of Western Europe and North America.
The private health sector in Uzbekistan is small but does exist. Since the early 1990s, the private health sector has been steadily growing. The government has also implemented a program that involved the introduction of Uzbekistan health insurance and encouraged the further privatization of health services. So far, privatization has only involved small clinics and pharmacies. The government is slowly expanding privatization to small dental and prenatal clinics.
If you are seriously ill or injured in a rural area, or if the treatment or medication you require is not available in the country, evacuation may be required. These expenses are known to be as high as USD $100,000, so it is imperative that the health insurance policy that you have will cover emergency evacuation transportation costs.
What vaccinations do I need for Uzbekistan?
There are various diseases that are still prevalent in Uzbekistan, which may already be rare in more developed countries. Hence, expats are recommended to get vaccinations for the following diseases:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Although vaccinations for the above-mentioned diseases are not required to enter the country, Uzbekistan’s supply of vaccines is critically low, so they may be difficult or highly expensive to obtain once in the country.
Furthermore, visitors should also bring adequate supplies of their own prescription medicines. Diarrhea medicine is recommended because the number one ailment for most travelers is diarrhea. Most cases tend to be mild and can be treated with rest and sufficient fluids. Malaria is rare but has been reported in the country. Anti-malarial pills are not likely to be necessary. Travelers should use insect-repellant and be aware of where they sleep, especially around stagnant bodies of water.
Other common diseases and healthcare issues that afflict the Uzbekistan populace include pollution, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, dysentery, cholera, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and drug abuse. Many of these problems are associated with prolonged exposure to pollutants, such as the toxic dust that blows from the dried-up areas of the Aral Sea.
How to find the best private health insurance in Uzbekistan
Pacific Prime offers professional advice at no cost to you. No matter what your budget is or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can help find a policy that fits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, transportation, inpatient services, and many more. Please contact us today for a free consultation or visit our website for a no-obligation, free quote today.