The Role of Health Care Systems in Increasing Access and Promoting Rational Use of Medicines in Rural Kyrgyzstan

Project Description

The pharmaceutical market in Kyrgyzstan has developed rapidly in the post-Soviet period. Still, access to medicine in rural parts of the country remains an unresolved issue. To address this problem, a Rural Pharmacy Initiative (RPI) pilot project was established in 2004 in the Jumgal Rayon (county). The initiative created 12 pharmacies in 12 villages where no pharmacies previously existed. The goals of the RPI were to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality drugs; increase the effectiveness of primary health care; and decrease the rate of medicine purchased from the informal sector of peddlers and bazaars.

The CGHD’s retrospective study intended to see how well the RPI had worked and whether the model could be improved and used elsewhere in Central Asia. Data for the analysis was gathered through a survey administered to households located in three types of rural Kyrgyz villages: Jumgal RPI project villages, villages where the RPI was to be expanded in 2008, and control villages. A member of each household answered questions about the treatment of illnesses within the household and household access to medicine and other health care services.

What stood out was that, in the Jumgal villages, only 12% of respondents reported using pharmacies in another village. By contrast, in the other villages surveyed, the percentage ranged from 34 to 43%. Thus, it appears that the RPI was successful in increasing access to medicine in Jumgal. The initiative was less successful in addressing issues of affordability.

Overall, despite some problems, the Rural Pharmacy Initiative in Jumgal was successful in increasing access to medicine in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan. In addition, the initiative had the unexpected effect of fostering competitive pharmaceutical markets. It is a model that can be scaled up across other regions of the country and Central Asia. Expansion has already begun, thanks to efforts by the Asian Development Bank.

This project is one activity of the CGHD’s Child and Family Applied Research project (CFAR).

Project Details

Principal Investigator Brenda Waning
Collaborators Maksat
Country(ies) Kyrgyzstan
Dates of Research 2007–2009
Donor/Funder USAID logo United States Agency for International Development (USAID)