The Year of Mother and Child Health passed the baton to the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests. The major social program for 2017 has not yet been approved, and the last year’s has been talked of much. It is reasonable to highlight the last months of the past year. They were marked by the adoption of state programs of measures on improvement of social sector. The programs put forward many new initiatives and envisage new mechanisms to further address the pressing problems of phased development and raising living standards.

Virtual Reception, Real Solutions

In his New Year greeting to people of Uzbekistan, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said: "We declared 2017 the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests. It is built on the concept ‘human interests are above all', which is important for us. I'm sure that all of us, especially leaders, will unite our synergies and opportunities to fulfill the program goals for the new year. We see the strengthening of peace and tranquility, interethnic and civil consent as our present and future priority.

It would be fair to say that many of the initiatives, the foundation of these tasks were laid in the past year. In particular, opened late September, the virtual reception of the Prime Minister, has turned into an effective mechanism of interaction between state authorities and administration, economic management bodies, municipalities at all levels and the citizens, allowing to tackle the most pressing problems of the population. There is a huge positive feedback of the virtual reception. At the same time, analysts say, the virtual reception has revealed a “range of system-based shortcomings associated with the organization of work of state bodies with the appeals related to violations in the procedure and timing of their consideration, manifestations of formalism, bureaucracy and red tape”. All this has underlaid  the adoption of the Presidential Decree ‘On measures for radical improvement of the system of addressing appeals of individuals and legal entities’.

The Decree provides for the establishment of people’s reception office on the basis of citizen’s reception office under the President’s Office, as well as President’s Virtual Reception Office. People’s reception offices will operate in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regions and in Tashkent, as well as in each district and town.

People’s and virtual reception offices will arrange a direct dialogue with the population, ensure the functioning of a drastically new and effective system of addressing appeals of individuals and legal entities, aiming at the full protection of their rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.

Receptions will pave the way for the unconditional implementation of constitutional rights of citizens to appeal to the President, to the Oliy Majlis, President’s Office, the government, state authorities, judiciary, law enforcement and regulatory bodies, local state authorities, other state organizations and economic management bodies. The key function of reception offices will come to ensuring the accurate, objective and timely consideration of the appeals submitted to the people’s and virtual reception offices, in strict accordance with the Law ‘On appeals of individuals and corporate entities’.

The mission of reception offices will be built on the extensive use of advanced information and communication technologies in processing of appeals through the introduction and management of a unified electronic information system on entry, compilation, systematization and control of consideration of the appeals received by people’s and virtual reception offices.

The analysis of the appeals has shown that not every problem can be addressed personally. The analysis has revealed the whole range of problems that require a system and program-based approach, like the issues of pre-school education development. It is noteworthy that the issues are successfully addressed.

Best Practices for Children

Aiming to practically address the issues of development of a network of preschool institutions, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a Resolution ‘On measures to further streamline preschool education system in 2017-2021’ on December 29, 2016. Expansion of the coverage of children with preschool educational institutions by 1.5 times, and drastic improvement of the level for preparedness for school are the most important and anticipated outcomes of the program.

The goals may be achieved by expanding the network of preschool educational institutions. 2.2 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 09.01.2017, 1$= 3239.62 soums) will be allocated for thses purposes. It is planned to build 50 new, revamp 1,167 and repair 983 existing institutions. Nursery schools will become affordable for a larger number of families. The amount of parental contributions in preschool education institutions will be reduced to 30% in rural areas.

A large range of measures will be taken to create the conditions for the full intellectual, moral, aesthetic and physical development of children with an eye to the best international practices. Much importance will be attached to the improvement of curricula for training and professional development of teaching staff for pre-school educational institutions in the light of modern pedagogical technologies and methods.

The introduction of alternative curricula in education will be continued. It is scheduled to establish 6,100 short-term groups for alternative training on preparing children for school.

The children that are not covered by pre-school educational institutions will be in the spotlight. Their parents will be provided with teaching aids to prepare children for school.

Caring for Seniors

It is appropriate to mention that authorities address the issues of representatives of various categories of the population. With the decree and the resolution, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved a range of measures to further improve state support for the elderly and people with disabilities.

The decree and the resolution are a follow up of what has been done in recent years. The logistical capacity of 12 care homes for the elderly and people with disabilities Sahovat and Muruvvat, the living conditions of 14,600 lonely pensioners and the disabled were improved, 5,400 people with disabilities were provided with assistive technlogies and orthopedic tools, 6,400 people with disabilities and seniors improved health in sanatorium institutions in 2010-2015 alone. The total amount of medical and social assistance made up 132.2 billion soums.

The goals at the current stage envisage government support for Nuroniy Foundation, further improvement of the system of social protection of the lonely elderly, pensioners, people with disabilities, its target vector, development of fundamentally new approaches to raise the level and quality of health and social care for this population strata, as well as the creation of conditions in the field to provide residents of regions and towns with access to modern methods of diagnosis and treatment.

The state will provide budgetary financing of headquarters of Nuroniy Foundation, its regional and district affiliates, including full pension allowances to the retiree staff of the foundation from the government budget. About 4.2 billion soums will be annually allocated for these purposes. 10% of the funds that are raised from charitable mass campaigns on the occasion of nationwide holidays Navruz and Independence Day and channeled to the Mahalla Foundation will be annually transferred to the Nuroniy Foundation in order to strengthen its financial state. The logistical capacity of all affiliates of the Nuroniy Foundartion will be improved through the creation of appropriate conditions, provision of furniture, computer equipment and tools. More than 1.5 billion soums will be allocated for these purposes. Meanwhile, the Nuroniy Foundation will assist the government in the implementation of the most important priorities of state policy on the local level, focusing on raising the quality of life of senior citizens, maintaining the high level of their social activity, and their involvement in social and political life of the country.

There are plans to engage elders, the elderly and veterans in the system-based public initiatives on spiritual education and enlightenment of the youth in the spirit of respect for centuries-old traditions of our people, love for homeland, respect for the elderly. In order to strengthen peace and tranquility in families, activists with many years of life experience will be attached to problem families with children, as well as provide social and material support to the lonely and needy elderly people.

Much will be done for the elderly themselves. In particular, there are plans to establish ‘Nuroniylar Maskani’ complexes with reading rooms, recreation and physiotherapy rooms, as well as dining and medical rooms. Citizens' self-government bodies will open the position of deputy chairman of citizens' assembly (in villages, settlements, mahallas) – an advisor for the elderly and veterans on a voluntary basis.

Particular attention will be paid to health of representatives of the older generation. More than 2.8 million old people will be covered with thorough medical examination by specialized medical teams for early detection and treatment of diseases. There are plans to expand preventive measures in elderly citizens through continuous monitoring of the state of their health by the attached patronage nurses, improve quality and level of life of 15,500 lonely by attaching personal social workers.

Highly qualified medical assistance will get more affordable. Statistics revealed cardiovascular diseases as the most common diseases in the elderly. Therefore, it was decided to establish inter-regional cardiac surgery centers for open heart surgery in Andijan, Bukhara, Samarkand and Ferghana regions. The project is estimated at 9.7 billion soums.

Older persons will have an opportunity to improve health through the reserved free medical vouchers for diagnosis and treatment. A total of 158.8 billion soums will be allocated to reserve the vouchers to the republican specialized medical centers and regional medical facilities.

Health improvement of veterans of war and labor front, lonely pensioners and people with disabilities will be in focus. In this regard, it is scheduled to improve health of 34,000 people of this strata annually in health and recreation facilities for a total amount of 18 billion soums. The participants of the war of 1941-1945 will be entitled to receive compensation equal to the average cost of the voucher, instead of annual health improvement in sanatoriums.

The Program provides free rehabilitation in sanatorium facilities for additional 50,000 pensioners and the disabled. To do that, three new nursing homes for the elderly, the disabled, veterans of war and labor will be built and equipped in Bukhara, Kashkadarya and Khorezm regions to a total amount of 13.5 billion soums.

The range of measures on further improvement of quality of life of persons with disabilities through the provision of 10,000 people of this segment of the population annually with necessary prosthetic and orthopedic tools and assistive technologies in the amount of 2.5 billion soums will be continued.

As part of increasing the level and quality of life of the lonely elderly and disabled people in need of home care, 4,000 people of this strata will be annually provided with free basic sets of food and hygiene products totaling 3.2 billion soums.

Lonely and needy senior elderly will be provided with full sets of winter clothes and shoes, as well as agricultural products for winter. More than 6.4 billion soums will be allocated for these purposes every year.

Equipping of district (municipal) medical associations and institutions, as well as all regional cancer clinics with modern medical equipment to a total amount of $108.7 million will be continued

It is planned to implement a project on strengthening the logistical capacity of 23 care homes for the elderly and people with disabilities Sahovat and Muruvvat for 207 billion soums.

(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for the Support of NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions).

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)