Health services are widely available in Turkmenistan. UNICEF works with the Government to improve the quality of services.
Health services are widely available in Turkmenistan. The country enjoys universal immunization coverage, as the Government of Turkmenistan has been investing over 65 million USD since 2006 for the immunization programme. The country has also achieved universal salt iodization and seen stunting rates decline from 19 per cent in 2006 to 11 per cent in 2015. The exclusive breastfeeding rate in Turkmenistan is the highest in the region. It has increased from 11 per cent in 2006 to 59 per cent in 2015.
The National Concept on Developmental Paediatrics and Early Intervention led to the introduction of the Guide for Monitoring Child Development, expected to address disability prevention at an early stage.
Mandatory flour fortification with iron and folic acid through the Government funding with an annual allocation of 500 thousand USD covers 95 per cent of population needs.
However, child mortality is relatively high compared with other countries in Central Asia. Neonatal conditions, like asphyxia, preterm birth and sepsis remain the main causes of infant deaths.
Neonatal mortality in Turkmenistan (23 per 1,000 live births) contributes up to 48 per cent of under 5 mortality.
Only 43 per cent of health workers assess the growth of 0-5 years children in accordance with WHO standards.
Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) aims to reduce death, illness, and disability, and to promote improved growth and development among children under five years of age. Since 2001, Turkmenistan has made significant efforts to introduce and prepare IMCI scaled implementation. However, these efforts have not been sustainable and strategic enough.
UNICEF works with the Government of Turkmenistan to increase equitable access to quality health care services, establish a system to identify and respond to risks of developmental delays and disabilities in children, and ensure a continuum of care for children and families, particularly, in rural areas.
Before, developmental delays were looked at from a medical perspective only. Since undertaking training from UNICEF, my views have changed. Today, we don’t just treat with medication, we treat with a holistic approach.
UNICEF’s current programme is aligned with the SDGs related to child wellbeing and aims to support the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and other stakeholders to address critical gaps in child survival and development.
Addressing equity gaps in the quality of care is the key to avoiding preventable child deaths. UNICEF, therefore, strengthens management capacities and quality improvement mechanisms, focusing on perinatal and neonatal care services. This includes optimizing primary health care services, including home visitation and outreach programmes, to promote better parenting knowledge and skills.
To maintain achieved results, positive trends in changes and progress reached, to ensure continuity of interventions and approaches, UNICEF will work with the Government in evaluating the outgoing and developing a new comprehensive national mother and child healthcare strategy, which will be budgeted and will have a well-developed monitoring framework.
Immunization is one of the most successful health programmes in Turkmenistan. Since 2001, national vaccination and procurement are fully financed by the state budget, with continuously increasing budget allocations for these purposes.
Since all children receive vaccines for free, there is a high level of coverage regardless of household wealth.
UNICEF will continue supporting the Government in procuring life-saving vaccines, promoting effective vaccine management, facilitating the introduction of new vaccines, and educating primary health workers and parents on the importance of timely immunization.
Since 2001, national vaccination and procurement are fully financed by the state budget, with continuously increasing budget allocations for these purposes.