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Kyrgyzstan recently adopted a new 12-year health strategy “Healthy person – prosperous country 2019–2030”. The new strategy aims to protect health, ensure access to essential quality services, strengthen primary health care and decrease financial hardship for all people and communities, in pursuit of UHC by 2030.
Kyrgyz officials recognize the value of inclusive partnerships. During the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2, Kyrgyzstan became the first Central Asian country to sign the UHC2030 Global Compact as a sign of commitment to taking action towards UHC.
The UHC2030 Global compact reflects support for the aims of the SDGs and is consistent with the ambition and commitment of other intergovernmental agreements including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Through the principles laid out in the Global Compact UHC2030 signatories commit to working together with renewed urgency to accelerate progress towards UHC as articulated in the target 3.8 in the SDGs.
Partnerships for universal health coverage: a joint statement for better coordination
The Ministry of Health, working closely with the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group and other development partners, updated sector coordination mechanisms around the new national health strategy, bringing together and coordinating stakeholders working on all aspects of the health sector. Coordination modalities are now outlined in a “Joint Statement” of the Government of Kyrgyz Republic and Development Partners and take into consideration the changing context of Kyrgyzstan becoming a lower-middle-income country with a gradually expanding economy and decline in external funding.
Reflecting the evolving economic and social context in Kyrgyzstan, the joint statement underlines the importance of targeting development assistance to health in a way that catalysis adequate health sector prioritization in public budgets and effective use of domestic resources. It shows the significance of designing responses to transition from external funding that aim at sustaining or increasing the effective coverage of priority interventions for UHC. lt also promotes the value of actors working in a coordinated manner based on transparent well-coordinated transition plans with clear timelines.
Transition from external funding for health systems and UHC
Many middle-income countries are facing transition from external to domestic funding in health, and Kyrgyzstan is an example of a country adapting principles of co-operation in this context. Kyrgyzstan is characterized by a gradually expanding economy, a period of transition away from external funding while working to increase the coverage of domestic pooled funding, and keeping focus on the ultimate goal of stronger health systems for UHC. A common guiding principle for all countries in this situation is to sustain, or even increase, effective coverage of priority health services and interventions including those currently supported with external funds.
This does not mean simply channelling government revenues to pay for a previously donor-funded programme. Rather, successful transition both requires, and provides an opportunity for, countries to assess and configure governance, financing and service delivery towards sustainable effective coverage for priority interventions.
Working together with countries, all health partners can help create conditions for successful transitions by considering these issues as early as possible. Strengthening health systems is at the core of preparing for and responding to transition if progress towards UHC is to be sustained.
Following a participatory process in 2018, UHC2030 launched a set of common principles to guide the actions of national governments, development agencies, the private sector, civil society groups and other health actors, in response to transition from external funding. The principles aim to provide the basis for advocacy and political influencing and help inform transition-related coordination in countries and globally. Kyrgyzstan is an example of a country that has adapted and built these principles into a Joint Statement among multiple stakeholders.
Photo: Health personnel at a district hospital in rural Kyrgyzstan.
© 2008 Rebecca Callahan, Courtesy of Photoshare