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COVID-19 patients pay 1,700 – 63,000 soms for treatment in Kyrgyzstan

Patients with COVID-19 have paid from 1,700 to 63,000 soms for their treatment and examination. Results of the study Observance of Social and Economic Rights amid Coronavirus Epidemic in the Kyrgyz Republic say.

The study was conducted by the Association of NGOs for the Promotion of the Rights and Interests of Children in the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan.

This study was carried out in the period from June 16 to July 22, 2020 in several stages.

According to the study, the main costs were borne by the patients themselves, despite repeated statements by the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic about the readiness of the healthcare system, re-profiling of the bed capacity and increase in the number of beds for treatment of patients with COVID-19, provision with the necessary equipment and drugs.

The costs of examining and treatment of COVID-19 were not covered by the health insurance system, regardless of the status of the insured patient. At the same time, Article 57 of the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on the Protection of the Health of Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic provides that the funds of the healthcare system are used to prevent and eliminate epidemics of infectious diseases and the consequences of emergency situations.

«According to the respondents, on average, mild and moderately severe patients paid from 1,700 to 63,000 soms for their treatment and examination. The structure of expenses mainly included drugs, medical products (syringes, irrigation tubing sets, etc.) and blood tests, X-rays or CT of the lungs,» the study says.

It is noted that the cost of treatment in many cases exceeded the income level of the respondents. According to the National Statistical Committee, the average salary in Kyrgyzstan is 16,427 soms, while in Osh region — 10,307 soms, in Batken region — 11,026 soms, in Chui region — 14,114 soms.

None of the respondents said they paid doctors for prescription of drugs or services. Most of the respondents noted that they had to pay the nurses whom they called at home for «getting injections.»

In the absence of an opportunity to pay for nursing services, respondents went to day patient hospitals or to relatives, and some even «had to give themselves injections,» having learned it on YouTube.

Natalia Shipp, Executive Director of the Association of NGOs for the Promotion of the Rights and Interests of Children in the Kyrgyz Republic

Hikes in drug prices has also severely limited access to treatment, especially for vulnerable population. People had to make a choice: «buy food and feed the children, or be examined, start treatment.»

Difference in the cost of the same medicine in different pharmacies reached an average of 200 soms. Many drugs were not available in pharmacies, there were long queues. To buy all the drugs on the list prescribed by the doctor, it was necessary to go to 5 −10 pharmacies.

None of the respondents underwent rehabilitation. When symptoms disappeared, they simply stopped taking medications, went to work. The maximum that the cured respondents did was «vitamins and breathing exercises.»

The doctors did not offer rehabilitation due to the lack of appropriate clinical guidelines and protocols. The doctors of the Family Medicine Centers did not take part in the rehabilitation process.

All respondents noted that they were aware of the consequences of the coronavirus from social media. But no one attaches importance to this, because people do not have money for full-fledged rehabilitation.