18 november 2019

Central Asia news

Boom of medical establishments offering fee-based services in Tajikistan

02.11.2007 13:44 msk

Bahodur Zairov


A private clinic for the wealthy locals and foreigners opened in Dushanbe. It was established on the premises of the Surgery and Therapeutic Center colloquially known as Tajiev' Clinic by the name of its founder.

Doctor Andreas Henk came to Tajikistan from Germany. According to the doctor, he was invited by Roberto Hancock of Great Britain, owner of a network of private clinics in European and Asian countries. The businessman shrugged off all doom-and-gloom forecasts and predictions of failure and established a private clinic in impoverished Tajikistan. In the meantime, the Tajik authorities themselves reported the average monthly pay in this country in October at only $44.

The services offered in the clinic are expensive by local standards and cheap by European. Henk is the only foreigner on staff, all others are locals happy with their relatively high pay.

Seeing a doctor here costs $40 (essentially what an average Tajik makes a month), tests $20 and more each. Vaccines, mostly foreign, cost $50-300.

"We deal with foreigners here," administrator by name of Gulchehra said. "They work here or else they are guests and tourists." Henk on the other hand claims that locals visit the clinic too - businessmen, bankers, state officials.

Santino Severoni, the head of the WHO mission in Tajikistan, hails the authorities' decision to develop fee-based medical facilities in the country because, he says, modern systems of health care require participation of the population. "What funds the state provides only suffice to cover part of the overall costs," Severoni said. "Donor organizations come up with approximately 13%, and about 70% come from the population."

The national health care budget in Tajikistan these days is one tenth of what it was in 1990. It amounts to just over $4 per capita. What can be done or accomplished with this money?

Specialists say that these meager subsidies cannot be counted on to improve effectiveness of the system of medical services. Fortunately, there are donor countries that help Tajikistan buy medical equipment, medicines, and disposable syringes. The United States alone transacted $52 million in 2003, the money spent on medicines and expensive medical gear. Germany, Japan, Russia - this is but an incomplete list of the countries who contribute to Tajik efforts to cope with diphtheria, malaria, typhoid, and other maladies.

The Tajik Health Care Ministry reports in the meantime that the number of private clinics throughout the country exceeds 50. New clinics are about to be established soon.