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Health in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan remains one of the handfuls of countries in the world where health care provision is entirely free. However, in exchange of medical care, patients often are expected to offer briberies to the various stakeholders in this corrupt system. In 2006, the Kazakhstan government gazetted that health care in the country to be state-control. The sad truth is that the country's health care system has completely broken down in comparison with the tightly regulated system associated with the Soviet

Union regimen. The underlying reasons are insufficient funds alongside mass emigration of medical professionals after independence. Official numbers are depressing. In the three years from 1989 to 2001, ratio of physicians to every 10,000 inhabitants dropped by 15% (or 34.6 physicians for every 10,000 inhabitants) and ratio of hospital beds to every 10,000 inhabitants dropped by a dramatic 46% (which translates to 74 hospital beds to every 10,000 inhabitants). The situation showed sign of improvement in 2005 when the numbers climb up to 55 and 77 for both numbers of doctors and hospital beds respectively. The government traditionally did not spend much on health care expenses. In 2005, only 2.5% of Kazakhstan's GDP (or gross domestic product) was spent on healthcare related investment. However, the Government has stated its intention to raise this amount to around 4% by 2010. While legislated healthcare insurance has been on the talk for quite a few years, implementations still don't look imminent. The industry continues to struggle with low wage as well as inadequate equipment. Among the foreign countries, Japan stands out as the single biggest source of necessary medical equipment. Due to the exorbitant charges to access medical assistance, most patients tend to opt for outpatient treatment instead of the more comprehensive in-hospital examinations and diagnosis. The deterioration in health care system in Kazakhstan is further magnified when one moves from city to suburbs.

The three common illnesses among Kazakhstan residents are tuberculosis, cardiovascular conditions and respiratory disorders. The country was not able to shield itself at the heart of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and since 2000, this particular illness has been viewed with more urgency and significance, alongside cancer cases. Official report released in 2003 projected some 23,000 citizens are infected with HIV. Experts have warned that this number is set to increase further due to factors such as active prostitution trade and higher number of intravenous narcotics users. In 2003 alone, four in five cases are related to narcotics use. The situation was made worse in 2006 when improper hospital techniques caused an outbreak of juvenile HIV. Official number released showed that some 1,285 cases were reported during the first nine months of 2006.

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List of Hospitals in   Kazakhstan
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