Tajikistan has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates among countries of the CIS region. Malnutrition and waterborne diseases are other serious challenges across the country, in particular in rural areas.

The breakup of the Soviet Union led to the collapse of Tajikistan’s free healthcare service – a service characterised by a costly hospital based model and little attention to preventive and family medicine. Tajikistan’s government has now defined a National Health Strategy, which aims, by 2020, to move the country towards a family medicine model, offering affordable primary health care throughout the country.

Switzerland is supporting this reform in a number of ways, among them by working with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection to develop family medicine services. Re-training and support is being offered to health professionals, along with assisting in the necessary rehabilitation of primary health care facilities. In addition, advice is being provided on how to finance health services in an efficient and transparent manner. So far, the family medicine system has been introduced in 11 out of 58 districts, benefiting some 1.2 million people. During the next four years, the model will be extended to 11 new districts, allowing an additional 1 million people to benefit from better access to health care services.

To ensure the quality and sustainability of the change to a family medicine model, Switzerland also contributes to the reform of medical education, including the introduction of new courses and teaching methods. A further intervention supports local communities to get involved in health promotion. People in rural areas are being encouraged to identify their health needs and then to work towards solutions with the support of the Ministry of Health. Public Health Promoters or health community groups are set up to give advice on healthy lifestyles.

Switzerland’s support for health in Tajikistan is expected to contribute to increased access to good quality primary health care for men, women and children, in particular in rural areas.

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Aga Khan Health Services are implementing the Swiss funded projects in the health sector.

Smiling mother and child in Nigeria
Smiling mother and child in Nigeria ©SDC/Olivier Lassen

The health gap between rich and poor continues to widen. In many parts of the world, the progress that has been achieved in public health over the years is being reversed.

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