Kazakhstan is a developing Central Asian country and therefore there is much to be desired in its health care system both for locals and visitors. In principle, health care in this former Soviet Union state is free. However, the state-controlled health care system is in a continuing decline due to insufficient funding and lack of technical experts since most have left the country. Health in Kazakhstan is a concern to most visiting tourists, which is why it is necessary to come prepared.
The most common diseases experienced by Kazakhs are respiratory infections, heart problems and tuberculosis. Since 2000, the number of HIV/AIDS cases has increased due to the also increasing number of sex workers and international clients prying on them. HIV/AIDS shouldn’t be a concern, however, of all safe, clean and responsible tourists.
Before coming to Kazakhstan, foreign tourists should get the necessary vaccines and buy relevant medications. It is important to consult a local physician who knows about prevailing vaccine-preventable diseases and other health risks in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. A visit to the doctor four to six weeks prior to the trip is advised. In most cases, visitors who are scheduled to make a prolonged stay in Kazakhstan for work or study are required by their employers or schools to take necessary vaccines and health advice.
Kazakhstan is yellow-fever-free country, and so the government may require incoming tourists to take yellow fever vaccines before arriving; this is especially true to visitors from countries other than the United States. Customs officials may ask for tourists to present proof that they have taken yellow fever vaccination.
Kazakhstan is a beautiful country that is rich with natural resources and local heritage. While being concerned over one’s health is a necessary prerequisite, travel plans to this Central Asian country should not be derailed due to health-related risks. Now that Kazakhstan is opening itself and its rich natural resources and modern facilities to global tourism, the world is enchanted by its rich and exotic centuries-old culture and traditions that used to be hidden from the world. The most common tourists are travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Japan and Korea. Kazakhstan is so large it borders China, Russia and three other former Soviet Union states, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan is the world’s biggest landlocked country.
The leading tourist attractions are the Golden Ring, featuring some of the world’s earliest cities and civilizations in the southern part of the country; the Great Silk Road (or Zhibek Zholy) that passes through the ancient towns of Turkestan, Taraz and Otrar; the Baikonur space port; Karaghiye Depression, the second lowest land area in the planet that is surrounded with spectacular chalk cliffs; the ancient ruins of Mangyshlak and Ustyurt; Borovoye Resort, which is also known as the “Kazak Switzerland”; the huge Lake Balkhash, the biggest in the world; and Karkarala mountain forest; and the country’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and the petroglyphs within the archeological landscape of Tamgaly. These are enough reasons why travelers should come and maintain a good bill of health in Kazakhstan.