National News in Brief

 

  • The Almaty 2022 Winter Olympics Bidding Committee has announced that Kazakhstan’s bid will be confined to Almaty and not include Almaty and Astana as had been suggested, according to Xinhuanet.com and other outlets. “The Olympic concept of Almaty 2022 is all in one city. Only Almaty,” said Almaty 2022 Vice Chairman Andrey Kryukov, who spoke at a Feb. 18 press conference after an International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspection of Almaty. Led by Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov, the IOC Evaluation Commission was briefed by officials and toured some of the venues proposed for the games, including the Ak Bulak Nordic Arena, Ak Bulak Olympic Village and Tabagan Alpine and freestyle skiing centre. The experience was great for the Kazakh side, said Kryukov. The concerns raised by the committee largely had to do with sustainability, but Kryukov said Kazakhstan had “very good answers” for them. “I feel the commission is satisfied fully with that,” he said.
  • Gas production will reach 42.5 billion cubic metres in Kazakhstan in 2015, said Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik, according to Zakon.kz. Seven million Kazakhs in 1,150 settlements are currently connected to the gas supply, he added. This year, the third line of the Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline will be put into operation and transport up to 55 billion cubic metres of gas. The current transport capacity is 30 billion cubic metres. “In 2014, master plans for the gasification of the country were approved, according to which the level of gasification in 2030 will reach 56 percent, or 1,600 settlements. The volume of gas consumed will increase from 11 billion cubic meters today to 18 billion,” said Shkolnik.
  • Expo 2017 will significantly change the Kazakh capital city of Astana, according to the International Bureau of Expositions. The plan prepared for the city by the Institute for Urban Planning, which is in charge of Astana’s urban development, was presented Feb. 10-12 to the city’s citizens. The new project, to be completed by 2030, changes the capital’s original development plan of 2001 to incorporate the infrastructure necessary to host EXPO 2017. According to Astanagenplan, the architectural planning authority, Astana will have 900,000 inhabitants in its 175,444 acres by 2017 and somewhat more than 1.2 million by 2030. The new plan aims for balance by developing Astana’s suburbs, introducing new rules for the use of the urban centre and adding mechanisms to improve mobility. Transport upgrades, including a new railway station with a capacity of 35,000 people per day, two new bus stations and a bigger, modernised airport are also planned. Traffic flow will be altered with an eight-lane ring road and new interchange stations and a tram network will connect the airport and the city centre. According to the plan, half of the capital’s land area is to be green space accessible to locals and tourists and supply and water systems are to be improved.
  • Experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) praised Kazakhstan’s efforts to combat tuberculosis after an evaluation mission to the country, reported Primeminister.kz.During the mission to assess the availability and quality of methods for detecting, diagnosing and reporting cases of tuberculosis in Kazakhstan, experts visited clinics and the Astana TB dispensary and worked with the electronic database of the TB patients’ national register. At a meeting with First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Salidat Kairbekova after the WHO team visit, senior epidemiologist of monitoring and evaluation of the Global Tuberculosis Programme at WHO headquarters Philip Glaziou noted the effectiveness of Kazakhstan’s TB control activities. “In Kazakhstan, the government pays great attention to the fight against tuberculosis. It has introduced innovative, accelerated methods of diagnosis and treatment according to international standards. And, most importantly, they are available to every citizen,” he said. Kazakhstan’s supervision system and active work to find new TB cases were also noted and the experts made suggestions on how to improve anti-TB measures. Another WHO visit is scheduled for June.
  • Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence organised memorial services and anniversary celebrations to mark the passing of the 26th year since Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan, reported Tengrinews citing the ministry’s press office. More than 14,000 Soviet soldiers died in the war, among them 924 Kazakhs. “Twenty-six years have passed since the day the last Soviet soldier left the Afghan land, but the 10-year war echoes till this very day. That is why every year on Feb. 15 we honour those who fulfilled their military and civil duties with bravery and honesty,” said Armed Forces General Staff Deputy Chief Major General Mukan Dyusekeev during the ceremony at Astana’s Peacekeeping Soldier Monument. Students from the Zhas Ulan State School for future officers prepared 924 red paper tulips and laid them in the snow to commemorate the fallen Kazakh soldiers, while silent drill teams from different forces fired three times to mark a minute of silence. The events are part of the We Remember You, Soldier campaign, which also included sports tournaments, receptions, performances and shooting competitions. The event was also attended by adviser to the Kazakh Minister of Defence Lieutenant General Bakhytzhan Yertayev, Major General Muslim Dairov of the Chief Inspection, Colonel Turaly Koishykulov from the Air Forces and other army officers who participated in the Soviet-Afghan war.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially opened a new centre of excellence in primary healthcare Feb. 11 in Almaty, reported WHO’s European regional office. The centre was officially inaugurated by regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab and Kazakh Academy of Nutrition President Toregeldy Sharmanov. The centre will support the efforts of WHO/Europe in helping Kazakhstan and the region improve their healthcare systems. The new centre will gather knowledge to broaden the evidence base for health service delivery, provide technical know-how and experience in strengthening service delivery, support the development and reform of healthcare policy, create synergies with global health initiatives and foster partnerships among academic institutions, think tanks and other development partners. “The conditions for achieving the region’s greatest health potential, as set out in the Health 2020 programme, include strong leadership to take on the complexities of systems and bring their parts into alignment, while managers face the equally-difficult challenge of bringing about people-centred services in the day-to-day functioning of service provision,” Jakab said at the opening. She thanked the Kazakh government for its ongoing work in healthcare reform and commitment to a primary healthcare approach. According to WHO, primary healthcare is healthcare received in the community and should be affordable and universally accessible to individuals and families.

 

 

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