Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Nov.27 / Trend, D. Azizov /
During the years of independent development efforts of the country's leadership were aimed primarily at creating conditions for the birth and upbringing of a healthy generation to achieve long-term effect - maintain and improve the gene pool of the nation, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said on Saturday in his speech at the opening of the international symposium "National model of maternal and child health protection in Uzbekistan: Healthy mother - healthy child".
The symposium was attended by over 300 representatives from science and international organizations in healthcare, including heads of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, representatives of ministries and health institutions from 40 countries.
The symposium held at the president's initiative in the newly opened Palace of Symposia aims at exchanging experience in the sphere of maternal and child health protection, as well as Uzbekistan's achievements in the sphere of public health.
In his speech, President Karimov stressed that with reforming of the entire health care system a foundation has been created, on which the country's health system continues to be built and upgraded: a new system to provide free emergency medical care has been formed, which consists of specialized regional hospitals and branches in cities and regions, more than 3,200 of rural ambulances with modern equipment and staff have been established.
"The universally recognized slogan "Healthy mother - healthy child" in essence was the unifying and mobilizing appeal to the public, has become the priority, which was raised to the state and social level," Karimov said.
Today, perinatal and maternal and children's screening centers operate in all regions of Uzbekistan. All pregnant women in rural areas are provided with multivitamins necessary for the formation of a healthy fetus at the expense of the public budget, free vaccinations is carried out for all children under the age of two years, which allowed fully eliminate such diseases as diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Practically, 100 percent of children under the age of 14 years twice a year are covered by thorough medical examination, while women of fertile age - annually.
President Karimov said that as a result of actions taken over the past 20 years, maternal and infantile mortality in the country fell by more than three times, and life expectancy has increased from 67 to 73 years, including women - up to 75 years. Share of health expenditures in the country's budget hits 15.7 percent.
"More than $700 million preferential loan and grant funds from donors have been drawn only for strengthening the material-technical base of public health, its re-equipment during this period. Despite the ongoing global financial and economic crisis the funding of public health sphere has grown by 2.5 times over the past three years," Karimov said.
The President stressed that the country's medical institutions are working in close cooperation with leading foreign medical institutions such as university hospitals, "Charité" (Germany), Harvard (USA), Manchester (UK), Vienna (Austria), well-known centers of Russia and Ukraine major hospitals of Japan, South Korea and other countries.
President Karimov said we will substantially improve the material and technical, scientific and practical base of specialized medical centers, introduce mechanisms to encourage health workers of the centers and increase their responsibility for final results.
"Over $ 1.5 billion will be mobilized for these purposes from various sources in the coming years, and we see this work not only as an important factor in strengthening the well-being and health of public, but also as one of the key indicators of our economy's growth and the steady progress of society, " Karimov said.
President Karimov expressed confidence that the results of the forum will serve to ultimately achieve the Millennium Development Goals.