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UNICEF, EU and the Government of Uzbekistan recommit to equitable health care for mothers and children

© UNICEF 2012/Uzbekistan/Atoev
From left to right, European Union Ambassador Norbert Jousten, Deputy Ministry of Health Assomiddin Kamilov, and UNICEF Uzbekistan Officer-in-Charge Savita Varde-Naqvi shake hands after signing the tripartite agreement.

By Nigina Baykabulova

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 19 July 2012 – UNICEF, the Government of Uzbekistan and the European Union (EU) signed today a tri-partite agreement for the implementation of phase II of the EU-UNICEF Development Cooperation Programme ‘Improvement of Mother and Child Health Services in Uzbekistan (IMCHS)’.

The agreement embodies a joint commitment by the three partners to strengthen health governance, improve quality of care for mothers and children, and promote health-seeking practices among families and communities.

Continuing a successful partnership

The agreement marks a continuation of the successful partnership between the Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and the EU. The implementation of phase I of the IMCHS Development Cooperation Programme, from 2008 to 2011,  has significantly contributed to health sector reform, particularly in the areas of mother and child health.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1620/Estey
Nurse Yumrzakova Iroda prepares to evaluate a baby at a hospital in Namangan, Uzbekistan. The hospital staff has received training in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), a programme that is improving child survival.

IMCHS phase I provided compelling evidence that an integrated package of newborn and child survival interventions from the pre-pregnancy stage to childhood can reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality, thus bringing the country closer to attaining Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 – goals relating to child and maternal health – with equity.

UNICEF has been a trusted partner of the Ministry of Public Health throughout the process, improving healthcare quality by building the capacity of health professionals to deliver cost-effective, high-impact interventions.

Through policy dialogue with a range of stakeholders and development partners – including the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – and through programme interventions on the ground, UNICEF has been well placed to provide quality assurance and technical oversight in a holistic and sustainable manner. This will carry over into the implementation of IMCHS phase II.

Strengthening the continuum of care

IMCHS II will use the ‘continuum of care’ approach to the health and well-being of the mother and child – focusing on pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, child birth, infancy and early childhood.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1619/Estey
Dr. Djabbarova Malokhat uses a UNICEF-provided timer to measure the heart rate of three-month-old Mavluda in a hospital in Andijan, Uzbekstan. The hospital staff has received training in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), a programme that is improving child survival.

On the advocacy side, the project will focus on reviewing and standardizing frameworks, strengthening health financing and governance systems, and supporting supervision and rigorous monitoring.

On the service delivery side, it will focus on building the capacity of the health workforce to deliver comprehensive, state-of-the art care in accordance with international standards. It will improve curricula, implement best practices, and improve supply and logistics planning.

On the demand side, IMCHS II will work with caregivers, families and communities to address social and cultural barriers to equitable health access. It will also promote positive health, nutrition and hygiene practices at the household level.

The project is valued at more than €5.7 million; the European Commission's contribution is €4.9 million, and UNICEF's contribution is over €818,000. It will be implemented in all the regions of the country.



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