Community-oriented Primary Care in Kazakhstan Project

AIHA’s Community-oriented Primary Care Program in Kazakhstan was based on the highly effective socio-medical model piloted at Demeu Family Medicine Center in the nation’s capital of Astana. This Center was established in November 2000 through the efforts of our Astana / Pittsburgh partnership.

Demeu’s approach encompassed the principles of primary care, epidemiology, and public health to effectively integrate delivery of medical care with social services that address defined community needs, in particular the needs of high-risk segments of the population.

Improvements in the quality of health-related services available in Astana following Demeu’s opening — along with related improvements of health indicators among the local population — convinced the Kazakh Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to support the replication of the community-oriented primary care model throughout Kazakhstan.

The goal of the replication project launched in 2004 was to scale up the Demeu model in selected communities within Kazakhstan by promoting adoption of Demeu’s positive features, especially its approach to serving vulnerable groups and addressing social problems that impact the health status of the population it serves.

In close collaboration with AIHA and USAID, staff from Demeu spearheaded the process of training and mentoring health and allied professionals at clinics in Almaty, Semey (formerly known as Semipalatinsk), and Uralsk.

Our Pittsburgh partners provide a limited amount of technical assistance and Columbia University School of Social Work played an important role in the development and implementation of a Social Work Training Center that now operates at Demeu.

Key objectives of the replication project in Kazakhstan were to:

  • Develop social work as a profession by strengthening the training capacity of the Demeu Family Medicine Center to better integrate a socio-medical model in primary care throughout the country;
  • Engage local and oblast-level health administration in target regions (Almaty, Semey, and Uralsk), along with representatives of family group practices in planning and implementing activities designed to foster use of an integrated socio-medical model in primary healthcare;
  • Improve the delivery of primary healthcare services through the integration of social services at selected replication sites; and
  • Sustain improvements made in primary healthcare services at replication sites through the development of quality improvement practices.