By Cho-Yau Ling, MPH ’12 in Health Policy and Management
I am more than halfway through my internship with ICAP in Central Asia. I continue to assist with the baseline assessment of government care and treatment services in Central Asia. I just returned from an assessment visit in Chuy Oblast in Kyrgyzstan, where I helped the Kyrgyz team with their medical chart review.
It was interesting to discover the differences in HIV treatment services in Kazakhstan and in Kyrgyzstan. One major difference is how treatment services are structured and financed at the local level. In Kazakhstan, most of the services, such as anti-retroviral therapy distribution, are provided at oblast or city-level HIV centers. The services are therefore separated from primary care treatment services offered at clinics and hospitals. In some oblasts (provinces) in Kyrgyzstan, many of the services are offered at family clinics. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages that are interesting to reflect on. More data will need to be collected before any conclusions can be made from our assessment.
One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about conducting the ICAP baseline assessments is gaining data collection skills that will be useful in any future career. Sometimes the data collection process can be repetitive and tedious, but once it is collected, analyzed and compiled, the data will be useful in making recommendations on how to improve HIV care and treatment services in Central Asia.