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MSF in Turkmenistan, 2007
Field Staff: 68
Reason for Intervention:
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MSF is working to advance the quality of healthcare for children and pregnant women in Magdanly – an impoverished area on the Eastern frontier of Turkmenistan, predominantly populated by ethnic Uzbek communities. Despite some bureaucratic problems improvements in pediatric care have been made.
Overcoming bureaucratic obstacles
High mortality rates among newborns, infants and young children is a serious issue and the prevalence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and sexually transmitted infections are also of grave concern. The lack of accountability on illness and death caused by disease has led to a downward spiral in the quality of healthcare.
MSF started working in the eastern Magdanly district in 2004 and supports the general paediatrics, infectious disease, intensive care and maternity wards of the Magdanly Town hospital. The project has set up an intensive baby care room and child screening facilities and makes regular outreach visits to primary healthcare posts around Magdanly. MSF also built and equipped a TB laboratory to help tackle the rising number of cases.
While MSF is attempting to improve pediatric care in the city, its ability to provide meaningful care has been hampered by the fact that all healthcare services in this district face bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of political commitment. Despite these frustrations, MSF’s program managed to support more than 4,000 hospital-based consultations, about 15,000 outpatient visits and over 1,000 deliveries.
MSF’s ability to work closely with patients, local healthcare workers and healthcare managers, enabled the team to gain an understanding of the country’s most acute healthcare needs.
In 2008, MSF plans to expand its activities to other regions and will remain on standby for any health-related emergencies.
MSF has worked in Turkmenistan since 1999.