The Health Systems in Transition (HiT) profiles are country-based reports that provide a detailed description of a health system and of policy initiatives in progress or under development. HiTs examine different approaches to the organization, financing and delivery of health services and the role of the main actors in health systems; describe the institutional framework, process, content and implementation of health and health care policies; and highlight challenges and areas that require more in-depth analysis. Tajikistan is undergoing a complex transition from a health system inherited from the Soviet period to new forms of management, financing and health care provision. Following independence and the consequences of the civil war, health funding collapsed and informal out-of-pocket payments became the main source of revenue, with particularly severe consequences for the poor. With the aim of ensuring equitable access to health care and formalizing out-of-pocket payments, the Ministry of Health developed a programme that encompassed a basic benefit package (also known as the guaranteed benefit package) for people in need and formal co-payments for other groups of the population. One of the main challenges for the future will be to reorient the health system towards primary care and public health rather than hospital-based secondary and tertiary care. Pilots of primary care reform, introducing per capita financing, are under way in three of the country's oblasts. There are marked geographical imbalances in health care resources and financing, favouring the capital and regional centres over rural areas. There are also significant inequities in health care expenditures across regions. The quality of care is another major concern, owing to the lack of investment in health facilities and technologies, an insufficient supply of pharmaceuticals, poorly trained health care workers, and a lack of medical protocols and systems for quality improvement.