Turkmenistan introduces international standards for live birth definition
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 8 November 2006 – The beginning of January 2007 has been earmarked by the Government of Turkmenistan as the time for the adoption of internationally acceptable standards for live birth definitions. The order of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, issued on November 3, states that from January 1 all medical institutions in Turkmenistan will shift to the live birth definition recommended by the World Health Organization and a task force will be created to oversee the implementation of this.
By adopting the live birth definition the Government of Turkmenistan is proving its commitment to uphold children’s rights to life and survival. With Turkmenistan taking this decision, all countries in Central Asia will have implemented the international standards of live birth definitions with a commitment to scale-up in a timely manner.
The transition to the WHO recommended definition of live births means a step away from the former Soviet recommendations and gives a chance to infants, who earlier were considered either as miscarriage or stillborn. This important decision by the Government of Turkmenistan is also a key intervention in improving new born care and survival and will help to further reduce infant and child mortality rates towards successfully achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The transition to the international standards of live birth by Turkmenistan is supported by initiatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These international agencies support the government's efforts at national and sub-national levels through institutional capacity building of managers and academia at medical educational institutions and through introduction into pre-service curricula.
In addition, UNICEF and UNFPA have equipped all maternal care facilities in Turkmenistan with high-precision infant scales and measuring mats to bring those facilities up to international standards.
UNICEF remains committed to working with the Government of Turkmenistan to help it fulfil its national priorities and international child rights obligations.
Mr Ayadil Saparbekov, UNICEF Health & Nutrition Officer
Ms Gulyalek Soltanova, UNICEF Communication Officer