Armenia: health system review.
This analysis of the Armenian health system reviews the developments in organization and governance, health financing, healthcare provision, health reforms and health system performance since 2006. Armenia inherited a Semashko style health system on independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Initial severe economic and sociopolitical difficulties during the 1990s affected the population health, though strong economic growth from 2000 benefited the populations health. Nevertheless, the Armenian health system remains unduly tilted towards inpatient care concentrated in the capital city despite overall reductions in hospital beds and concerted efforts to reform primary care provision. Changes in health system financing since independence have been more profound, as out-of-pocket (OOP) payments now account for over half of total health expenditure. This reduces access to essential services for the poorest households - particularly for inpatient care and pharmaceuticals - and many households face catastrophic health expenditure. Improving health system performance and financial equity are therefore the key challenges for health system reform. The scaling up of some successful recent programmes for maternal and child health may offer solutions, but require sustained financial resources that will be challenging in the context of financial austerity and the low base of public financing.
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