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Launch to mark beginning of huge project to improve mother and child healthcare in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - 27 October 2008

The Government of Uzbekistan together with UNICEF and the European Commission has officially launched a new landmark project in which hundreds of thousands of mothers and children across Uzbekistan will directly benefit from improved maternal and child health care.

H.E. Mr. Feruz Nazirov, the Minister of Health opened the meeting, which was also attended by the group of the EU ambassadors and Mahboob Shareef, UNICEF Representative.  “As a result of the project, more then 8,000 medical workers will be trained across the country, which will lead to subsequent improvement of mother and child care in every province of the country,” said Feruz Nazirov at a press launch, which took place in international business center in Tashkent. He expressed appreciation to the EC representatives and confirmed the ministry’s firm commitment to achieve the objectives of the project.

The official agreement on project was sealed between the Government of Uzbekistan (GoU), the European Commission (EC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on July 16th 2008. During the last three months all partnering organizations were tuning the project’s activities to the best needs of the country. The project, with the budget almost 6 million US$, where EC is providing 5.5 million US$ (3.5 million Euros) and UNICEF 450 thousands US$ (300 thousands Euro) is aimed at improvement of healthcare staff’s skills  in emergency care during childbirth, plus newborn and childcare in maternity wards, polyclinics and primary healthcare facilities across the nation.

Mahboob Shareef, introducing key project details, said that: “Mothers, the newborn and children represent the well being of society and meeting their needs is best investment for the prosperous future of the whole of society. Very soon many more of Uzbekistan’s children will be offered the safe start in life that every child needs and deserves’”. 

The challenge is to ensure children have access to a continuum of health care, backed by strong national health systems.

 “The EC is delighted to be part of this groundbreaking program, with many thousands of mothers and children set to directly benefit. This is fully in-line with our developing relationship with Uzbekistan and it highlights our firm commitment to development in this country and the Central Asian region,” said Hugues Pernet, the Ambassador of France to Uzbekistan. Also speaking at the launch, he highlighted the partners’ appreciation of the ministry’s leadership in development and launching the Mother and Child project.

Note for editors:
Since 1999, UNICEF & partners have been running a pilot project, supporting the Government in health sector reform & strategic planning on safe motherhood, in the Ferghana region. Through UNICEF training, regional facilities have introduced the World Health Organizations Live Birth Definition, which has led to a 25% increase in reporting of infant deaths. This provides a far more accurate picture of the mother and child health situation in Ferghana. Independent analysis states that the newborn mortality rate in Ferghana consistently fell during 2003-2006. The training vastly improved emergency newborn care, newborn resuscitation & newborn care - staff are now better skilled, more knowledgeable and better able to take effective action. The project also facilitated positive changes at the policy level and contributed to wider social development.  

The GoU, EC and UNICEF are now expanding these evidence based successes across another eight of Uzbekistan’s fourteen regions.

  • 9,856 health workers will be trained
  • New training centers will be established in 5 regions
  • Training centres will be renovated in 3 regions
  • Newborn & child survival packages will be introduced into the academic curricula of medical institutes across the country.

For more information, please contact:

Matthew Taylor
UNICEF Uzbekistan
Tel.  (998 71) 233 95 12 
Cell: (99893) 399 05 58

Gulnara Mansurova
Europa House Tashkent
Tel: (998 71) 139 17 01



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