The WHO/European Roadmap for Health and Welfare in Central Asia has achieved progress through a series of high-level national and subregional policy dialogues in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. These dialogues aimed to address the root causes of disease and enhance reforms in healthcare systems.
The two-week policy dialogues focused on access to medicines and mental health reform at the sub-regional level in Tajikistan and health financing and health workforce at the national level. Central Asia is a significant pillar of work for WHO/Europe, and the organization is striving to provide universal coverage by assisting countries.
Access to essential medicines is a human right, but the prices can be unaffordable, resulting in financial hardship and poverty. The first subregional dialogue discussed ways to make medicines cost-effective and reviewed the impact of out-of-pocket costs on public and private budgets.
The second subregional dialogue focused on mental health and looked into ways to improve access to mental health services and support in Central Asia. Addressing the shortage of trained medical professionals is also a significant challenge in many countries, particularly in Central Asia. These policy dialogues aimed to provide concrete solutions to such challenges.
WHO/Europe has committed to assisting governments and national authorities in reforming their health systems during the post-COVID-19 recovery phase. The Roadmap is based on the health goals and priorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. WHO/Europe has provided significant support to the region across a wide range of health issues and has now put the spotlight on health system strengthening.