High-Level Event to Advance Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Standards in Health Care Facilities held in Dushanbe

29 February 2024
Person talking at the table

Dushanbe, 28 February 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan reaffirmed its ongoing dedication to global health and sustainable development by convening an important high-level event centered on advancing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) standards in health-care facilities (HCFs). Held in the capital city of Dushanbe, this event signifies Tajikistan's pivotal role in advocating for universal access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, with a particular emphasis on children, mothers, and families in Tajikistan.

Quality WASH in HCFs are necessary provisions to ensure quality of care, prevent and control infectious diseases, reduce antimicrobial resistance, and to ensure health services are safe. When a HCF has no adequate toilet or access to basic water services, patients and health workers are at risk. This is why WASH services are needed more than ever to protect both patients and health workers.

“Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population, with UNICEF's technical support, established a coordination platform for WASH in healthcare facilities. Its aim is to coordinate efforts among government and development partners, organizations, and stakeholders to improve WASH access in medical institutions. This platform facilitates analysis, sets baselines, plans projects, mobilizes resources, and enables collaborative decision-making for collective success.” Mr. Abduholik Amirzoda, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of Population of Tajikistan.

Tajikistan, together with the European Union, World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Health Organization and UNICEF joined hands around WASH issues by demonstrating their commitment to the global agenda of ensuring equitable access to fundamental services in health care facilities. The government of Tajikistan’s direction in this regard predates the landmark 2019 Resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly, setting its position in prioritizing WASH within healthcare environment. The 2023 UN General Assembly resolution on Sustainable, safe and universal water, sanitation, hygiene, waste and electricity services in HCFs re-emphasizes the continued urgency for taking action in this field.

“Without appropriate water and sanitation infrastructure, patients, healthcare workers, and communities are at increased risk of diseases. But proper WASH services are not only about hygiene and diseases, they’re about dignity, too. Everyone has the right to sanitation as everyone has the right to live a healthy life and a life with dignity”. Marc Buchmann, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union in Tajikistan.

Building on the outcomes of the second high-level international conference on the international decade for action "Water for sustainable development 2018–2028" in June 2022 and the 2023 UN water conference in New York, the event focused on presentation and dissemination of accurately developed WASH standards and guidelines designed for unified application throughout the lifecycle of healthcare facilities, from planning and construction to operation and maintenance.

One of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic was the protection of front-line health workers and essential workers at the HCFs. The evidence generated from the National Situational Analysis will  inform further policymaking by the government to protect the health workforce in Tajikistan particularly in the rural areas.” Mr. Seiju Imai, JICA Tajikistan Chief Representative.

The participants of the event were also presented with the insightful findings from the comprehensive National Situational Analysis on WASH in HCFs Assessment and the National WASH in HCFs Investment Case, providing a strategic roadmap for sustainable improvements.

Engaging in substantive discussions and fostering consensus on actionable measures aimed at accelerating progress in delivering WASH services across tertiary, secondary, and primary healthcare levels was also discussed at this important meeting. These efforts are pivotal in contributing to the attainment of WASH and Health related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

“With the support of JICA, WHO conducted a comprehensive assessment of the WASH conditions in health-care facilities throughout Tajikistan. The findings showed that two out of five health-care facilities have no toilet, and in many facilities, there is no clean, safe water available. WHO remains committed to support Tajikistan to improve and sustain WASH, thereby keeping patients and health workers safe.” – Dr. Victor Olsavszky, WHO Representative in Tajikistan.

The high-profile event underscores Tajikistan's steadfast commitment to addressing the fundamental link between water, sanitation, and health within health-care facilities. By convening a diverse group of stakeholders and facilitating the exchange of best practices, Tajikistan aims to catalyze tangible progress towards the attainment of global health and development objectives.

“We at UNICEF are steadfast in our belief that our collective and harmonized efforts will guide us towards our shared vision: universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, leaving no one behind. Our goal is to ensure that all children and mothers, regardless of their circumstances, have sustainable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene that is resilient to climate change and inclusive of gender and disability, not just in healthcare facilities, but everywhere.” Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan.

The event was attended by high-level officials from Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population, Delegation of European Union in Tajikistan, JICA, World Bank, WHO and UNICEF, senior and technical level representatives from other relevant ministries and development partners.


Media contacts

Daler Dodojonov
Communications and Visibility Officer
UNICEF in Tajikistan
Tel: +992939990096


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF operates in Tajikistan since 1993. 

To receive more information about UNICEF and our work in Tajikistan, please visit https://www.unicef.org/tajikistan/

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