Communities solve lack of health facilities - by building their own
Dushanbe, 14 September, 2007 – Neighbouring communities in Tajikistan left with little or no healthcare after years of conflict have taken matters into their own hands – and built two health centres.
This remarkable show of ‘people power’ involved more than a hundred inhabitants of neighbouring villages becoming the fund-raisers and builders of the health centres.
After 18 months of work, two fine buildings now serve as community health centres for a population of 24,000, or 14 villages, just south of the capital, Dushanbe.
Community leader Rahimov Bozorboy said: “This is a remarkable event for our community, since this initiative was fully supported and financed by the community itself. The funds were donated by our active members, who felt responsibility to support the rehabilitation of the heavily deteriorated medical services.”
The villagers’ individual donations for the two centres varied from $5 to $500. The entire project, from concept, through planning, and to the construction, was managed by the community. The community now pay staff wages.
The council of Rudaki district, or Khukumat, supported this initiative and provided furniture.
Community activist Tabarov Said, aged 42, said: There are some shortages, of course. We need more medical equipment and the water supplies are unreliable but we’re not giving up and we’re looking at other ways of solving some of the lingering issues.”
The end result of this community initiative is that inhabitants of villages such as Rohaty will have access to the quality medical services within their own region.
Both health centres were designed to concentrate on the needs of the most vulnerable groups: women and children. Three of the four rooms on one of the health centres have been designed to accommodate vaccination, antenatal care and postnatal care.
UNICEF supported this community initiative and donated two health kits and health information, education and communication materials to both the centres.
Rudaki district is an area with a large population and an agricultural economy.
During the conflict in Tajikistan in the 1990s this region was severely affected. Many people were killed and the infrastructure was badly damaged. It meant many schools, hospitals, and other important public facilities were either damaged or destroyed.
According to the Director of the District Central Hospital, Umurzakov Mirotillo, between the years 1992 – 2002 most medical facilities were destroyed.
In the more stable post-war era, the government has been unable to finance the repair and rebuilding of rural medical facilities. It has struggled to provide even the most essential medical services.
That’s why these neighbouring communities stepped in.