Uzbekistan Set to Deliver Improved Dialysis Services to Patients with IFC Support

On December 17, 2020, a press conference was held at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan to announce the winner of the international tender for the selection of a private partner for the provision of high-quality dialysis services – the largest and fastest growing provider of dialysis services in Asia to the company “Nephroplus”.

Nephroplus won the bid to finance, construct, equip, train personnel, and operate four dialysis clinics in the city of Tashkent, the Republic of Karakalpakistan, and Khorezm region to deliver vital dialysis care for over 1,000 patients.

As transaction advisor to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, assisted the Ministries in designing and tendering a public-private partnership (PPP) that will deliver dialysis care to Uzbek patients in line with best industry standards, providing higher quality care, reduced risk of infection, and no out-of-pocket payments for patients. IFC and the World Bank advised the Government in updating dialysis standards in line with international levels and developing a procedure for selecting and referring patients to dialysis in accordance with transparent selection criteria based on clinical and social conditions.

“The Government of Uzbekistan is committed to expanding access to affordable and quality health care,” said Timur Ishmetov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Finance. “This first-of-its-kind, market-changing PPP will help upgrade health services and increase access to critical dialysis care to more patients in the country.”

Rural patients will particularly benefit from the project because Nephroplus will introduce the country’s first ever Peritoneal Dialysis, a treatment that enables patients to receive dialysis care in their own homes, reducing travel time and costs for families, and extending the reach of dialysis care to rural and remote areas, an important innovation for the country.

Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project received bids from three major global dialysis companies, with the best financial offer made by Nephroplus. For the first time in the country and in Central Asia region, the Government of Uzbekistan leveraged an electronic bid submission and tender platform to facilitate the process.

PPPs are leveraging private sector expertise and resources to meet Uzbekistan’s infrastructure needs. This most recent project builds on an earlier solar power PPP that delivered record low renewable energy tariffs for the country.

“This project will not just improve the quality of patients’ lives, it will save lives,” said Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia. “It is inspiring to see that, while the pandemic has taken center stage worldwide, and is preventing non-COVID-19 patients from receiving proper care and attention, the government Uzbekistan is leveraging successfully the PPP tender process to improve healthcare in Uzbekistan. This new PPP will ensure that patients with chronic diseases receive the quality treatment and care they deserve.”

The PPP Agreement with Nephroplus is expected to be signed within 30 days.

Today the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health also signed two new advisory agreements with IFC for a project to finance, construct, equip, and maintain a new multidisciplinary hospital, and for a separate project to finance, construct, equip, train medical staff, and provide radiotherapy services to cancer patients in three regions of Uzbekistan.  

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