National news in brief

Almaty Akim (Mayor) Bakhytzhan Sagintayev met with an Almaty writers’ community representative to award grants, reported tengrinews.kz. The grants, determined by the Kazakh Writers’ Union commission, totalled 500,000 tenge (US$1,281). The grants are one of the ways the city akimat (administration) supports the writing community and it also plans to reconstruct the writers union building this year. “For us, as representatives of the people, it is important that the akim hears us, which means that he knows the needs and aspirations of the city’s people. For our part, we will do our best to contribute to the development of the urban community,” said Kazakh Writers’ Union Chairperson Ulykbek Yesdaulet.

Beginning in 2020, electronic prescriptions will be mandatory and the purchase prices of medications covered by government insurance will be reduced, said Minister of Healthcare Yelzhan Birtanov, reported tengrinews.kz. “A pilot drug labelling project was launched to identify counterfeit medicines. In 2020, electronic prescriptions will become mandatory,” he said. Electronic prescriptions and drug labelling are used to combat counterfeit drugs and prescriptions and the pilot project has shown a reduction in the number of complaints regarding medications. The rules regulating prices were approved by the ministry, with costs reduced 40 percent after the single distributors list was formed.

Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altai Kulginov met Oct. 23 with Kazakh NGO representatives and offered cooperation in improving the capital’s KSK (apartment owners’ cooperatives) and communal spaces, reported tengrinews.kz. The representatives raised problems of accessibility, employing those with disabilities and funding for shelters of survivors of domestic violence. “I am very pleased that each speaker voiced specific proposals and projects. Together, we can do more… Here, we can also work together. I propose to work together to improve the work of KSK. After all, KSK is a local government organisation. By using united action, we can achieve significant results. We can also develop urban public spaces together,” said Kulginov.

An earthquake was recorded Oct. 25 in Almaty, according to tengrinews.kz. “Upon receiving information, the Department of Emergency Situations of the Almaty Region notified local executive bodies, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the police department, the prosecutor’s office and other organisations; the situation was clarified in the territories and there were no reports of destruction and casualties,” reported the Almaty Department of Emergency Situations.

Kazakh driving licenses and identification documents will include fingerprints beginning in 2021, reported the Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs press service. A chip including the owners’ biometrical information will be inserted on the back side of the ID document. The press service also reported the ministry’s intention to make IDs from higher quality materials and use better technology in their production. The changes are intended to protect documents from being faked.

As a result of the Stop Tuberculosis project, nine people in Nur-Sultan were diagnosed with the disease, reported Inform.kz Oct. 25. The project, organised by the city akimat (administration), covered 14,000 people. “In particular, shopping centres of the city, markets and housing estates were examined. However, the priority is given to houses on the outskirts of the city… As a result of the project, 75 people who showed symptoms indicating tuberculosis were found. After conducting special examinations, nine people were diagnosed with tuberculosis. Work in this direction will be continued. For those citizens who can no longer be examined on weekdays, inspection and medical examination will be organised on weekends,” said city Public Health Department Deputy Chairperson Aliya Rustemova.