ADDRESS BY H.E. MR. ISLAM KARIMOV, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN, AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM THE NATIONAL MODEL OF MATERNITY AND CHILDHOOD HEALTH PROTECTION IN UZBEKISTAN: HEALTHY MOTHER - HEALTHY CHILD
Dear Mrs. Director-General,
Distinguished participants of the symposium,
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you, our distinguished guests, the representatives of the high-profile international institutions - the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the UN Development Program and the UN Population Fund, the public health administrations of many countries of the world, all the participants of the symposium, and express my deepest respect to all of you.
This unique complex of buildings the construction of which was just recently completed, embodies the best samples of national and modern architecture and city building art, consists of the two main parts: the National Public Library and the Palace of Symposiums, where we have gathered today. The very fact that the first guests we are receiving in this grand hall are you, the participants of the present International Forum devoted to the most humane and noble sphere of the human activity, i.e. the maternity and childhood health protection, - acquires to much extent a symbolic and historical significance.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express to you, dear Mrs. Margaret Chan, and to all of you, dear guests, the words of a sincere gratitude for accepting our invitation to take part in this Forum.
It is a great honor and high privilege for us that with Your participation, Mrs. Chan, as well as the participation of outstanding foreign scientists and medical scholars of authority we are going to discuss the Model of maternity and childhood health protection developed in Uzbekistan as the most important integral part of the ongoing nation-wide healthcare program and upbringing a healthy and harmoniously brought up young generation.
The motto or the principle “Healthy Mother - Healthy Child” which gained a common recognition in its essence served as a consolidating and mobilizing appeal to the people and became a particular priority raised to the state and public level.
Certainly, we did comprehend that achieving the set goal was possible only on the basis of deep reforming and modernizing the entire system of the public healthcare.
Today we have all grounds to state that during the years of independent development it has been created a practically capital foundation on which we continue building and renewing our country's public health system.
Firstly, it has been formed a principally new and in its way unique integrated system to render a free and highly qualified emergency medical aid to the population. It consists of the specialized regional hospitals and branches in the cities and districts that meet the highest requirements and international standards, as well as the emergency medical care services. Their activities are managed and coordinated by the Republican Scientific Center for Emergency Medical Aid.
Secondly, setting up more than 3200 rural medical stations plays an extremely significant role in the course of reforming the system of public healthcare and enhancing its lower level. I want to draw your attention that we are not speaking about the rural first-aid and obstetric stations, as they exist in other countries, but about the stations supplied with the high-tech medical equipment and where the first medical aid is rendered by the general practicing physicians.
Thirdly, we have streamlined the network of healthcare institutions on the district and regional levels and set up compact and well-supplied with the cutting-edge equipment and skilled personnel district-level medical associations and regional multi-field hospitals and polyclinics.
Fourthly, at the moment there are 10 republican specialized scientific and practical medical centers operating on the basis of the acclaimed scientific schools of cardiology and cardio-surgery, midwifery and gynecology, urology, ophthalmology, pulmonology and phthisiology, endocrinology and others, where we concentrate a highly-qualified and professionally trained personnel who render the highly-tech medical service using the modern equipment.
All these years we have channeled our efforts, primarily, to creating the conditions for the birth and to nurture a healthy generation to achieve the long-term effect, i.e. maintaining and improving the nation’s gene pool, raising the life expectancy and living standards of our people. It is natural that to reach this aim we had to accomplish an enormous work, including the one to change the psychology and mentality of the people.
In particular, to develop healthy family and reduce the number of possible cases of hereditary diseases in the country we have introduced the system of obligatory pre-marriage medical examination.
If to consider this aspect broadly, I would like to specially underscore that such values as the moral climate and morality in society, especially, among youth, as well as the attention being paid to strengthening family, sustainability and solidity of family ties have always been and now are highly valued in our country. I think there is no need to prove to someone that this factor, i.e. the healthy family and healthy atmosphere in the family plays an enormous role in the birth of a healthy child.
Today the prenatal and mother and child screening centers are functioning practically in all regions of Uzbekistan. At the expense of the state budget all pregnant women in the rural areas are supplied with polyvitamins essential to develop a healthy fetus.
I would specially like to draw your attention to establishing the network of the modern mother and child screening centers in the framework of a special state program. Their work has allowed to reduce since 2000 the birth of children with hereditary and inborn diseases to more than 1,7 times.
In our country we conduct a free vaccination of all children under 2 and this made us possible to completely eliminate such diseases as diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Practically 100 percent of children under 14 are covered by a comprehensive medical examination twice a year and the fertile age women go through this procedure annually.
During the last 20 years as a result of implementation of a set of measures the maternity and childhood mortality rate in our country has decreased to more than three times. In the global rating of 161 countries released this year by the International organization “Save the children” Uzbekistan secured the top 9th place among the states where the young generation's healthcare is better provided.
The training of highly-qualified medical personnel is the most important aspect in reforming the sphere of healthcare.
At the moment, along with the Tashkent Medical Academy there are medical higher educational institutions operating in such centers as Samarkand, Andijan, Bukhara, Urgench and Nukus.
We have introduced a principally new approach in organizing training of nurses with a higher education degree.
I would like to specially emphasize that our medical institutions work in close cooperation with the leading foreign medical establishments, such as the University clinics of Charité (Germany), Harvard (USA), Manchester (Great Britain), Vienna (Austria) and well-known centers in Russia and the Ukraine, as well as major hospitals of Japan, South Korea and other countries.
It gives me a great pleasure to welcome them and on behalf of the participants of the Forum present in this Hall to express my sincere gratitude to them.
Such an enormous attention paid in our country to the public healthcare is bolstered with, primarily, the investments and inputs made to the development of this sphere.
The share of expenditures channeled to the public health sector in the state budget makes up 15,7 percent and its share in the GDP - 4,1 percent.
Within the past period more than 700 million dollars of soft loans and grant assets of donors have been attracted to improve the logistics of the healthcare system and provide it with modern equipment and medical techniques alone.
Despite the ongoing global financial-economic crisis, during the last three years the volume of financing the sphere of public health has grown to 2,5 times.
I would like to briefly dwell on the issues related to free and paid medical services.
In Uzbekistan the entire primary medical aid for the population is free. The emergency medical and pediatric aid, obstetrics and the services to treat a number of socially vital diseases such as oncological, communicable and others, are rendered on the same basis.
At the same time, we all well comprehend that the modern quality medical aid is based on expensive equipment which needs a constant upgrading, as well as expensive medicines and medical products, and this factor, in its turn, puts on the top of agenda the acute issues of reasonable combination of free and paid medical treatment.
Today we have all grounds to state that the life itself has confirmed the Tightness and efficiency of the chosen model of healthcare in Uzbekistan. I will make only one example. Since 1991 we have managed to raise the average life expectancy from 67 to 73, including the life expectancy of women - up to 75.
Our experience proves that the reforms of healthcare is a permanent and uninterrupted process. Both the medical science and practice are constantly progressing and this finds its reflection in our national model of public health.
Nowadays we are starting to implement the tasks of a new phase of reforms during which we will have to complete optimization of the public health institutions network and gradually re-supply them with cutting-edge equipment. We are planning to considerably improve the logistical, scientific and practical basis of the specialized medical centers, turn them into joint-stock companies, introduce the mechanisms of encouraging medical personnel of the centers and raising their accountability for the end results.
For these purposes at the expense of various sources in few years we shall mobilize the assets worth more than 1,5 billion US dollars in equivalent. And we are perceiving this work not only as a major factor of raising the welfare and strengthening the people's health, but also as one of the key indices of our economy's growth and sustainable progress of society.
Dear participants of the Symposium!
I am confident that the results of our International Forum in the final outcome will facilitate implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. Since for everyone the opportunity to live a long and healthy life stands as a principal indicator of human happiness.
In conclusion, I want to note that in the core of all our achievements in the sphere of public health, which we can be rightly proud of, above all, there are knowledge, experience, professionalism and skills of many thousands of medical workers - the doctors and nurses, scientists and specialists, and all those who by their tireless and selfless labor grant a human being health and save the people’s lives.
As they say, there are two professions in the world blessed by God: the first is a profession of teacher and the second is a profession of doctor. For all of us a doctor devoted to his noble mission and daily expressing his best human qualities is an example of unselfish service to the higher ideals of humanism.
Speaking from this high rostrum, I would once again like to express my sincerest appreciations to you and in your person to all representatives of this noble profession. I wish you a fruitful work, fine stay on the hospitable land of Uzbekistan, as well as a sound health and many successes in your further endeavors.
Thank you for your attention.