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Project launched to improve mother and child healthcare in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT, 27 October 2008 – The Government of Uzbekistan, UNICEF and the European Commission have joined together in an effort to improve maternal and child health care for hundreds of thousands across Uzbekistan.

An official agreement between the Government of Uzbekistan (GoU), the European Commission (EC) and UNICEF aims to improve staff skills during emergency care, childbirth, newborn and childcare in maternity wards, polyclinics and primary healthcare facilities across the nation.

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

Mr. Mahboob Shareef, UNICEF Representative, said, “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’”.

Speaking at a press launch, which took place at the international business centre in Tashkent, Mr. Feruz Nazirov the Minister of Health confirmed the ministry’s firm commitment to achieving the objectives of the project. “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 Nazirov.

Also speaking at the press launch, Mr. Hugues Pernet, the Ambassador of France to Uzbekistan, highlighted the partners’ appreciation of the ministry’s leadership in developing and launching the Mother and Child project. “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 project, has a budget of almost US$6 million , with the EC providing US$ 5.5 million (3.5 million Euros) and UNICEF 450 thousand US$ (300 thousands Euros).

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 Organization’s Live Birth Definition, which has led to a 25 per cent 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 centre’s will be renovated in 3 regions
• Newborn & child survival packages will be introduced into the academic curricula of medical institutes across the country.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Matthew Taylor, UNICEF Uzbekistan , Tel.  (998 71) 233 95 12, Cell: (99893) 399 05 58 Email mataylor@unicef.org

Gulnara Mansurova , Europa House Tashkent, Tel: (998 71) 139 17 01
Email Gulnara.Mansurova@europahouse.uz




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