Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – Ms. Mieko Yabuta, UNFPA Country Director for Turkmenistan made an official visit to Turkmenistan from 1 – 5 March 2017 to participate at the series of events devoted to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s membership in the United Nations. Holding high-level meetings with the Government of Turkmenistan to reconfirm the UNFPA’s commitment to support the Government reforms in the areas of women and adolescent reproductive health and rights, gender equality and population and development was also on the agenda of the visit.
UNFPA Country Director participated at the government-hosted Conference and held high-level bilateral meetings at the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, the State Statistics Committee of Turkmenistan, the National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights under the President of Turkmenistan, and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
At the meeting with the partners at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the extensive discussion was focused around the issues of bilateral cooperation between Turkmenistan and UNFPA. Ms. Yabuta commended the Turkmen side for starting to realize the co-financing commitments and informed that UNFPA will provide additional funds into the Country Programme to match the Government funds.
The sides further discussed the future ways for UNFPA to support the country in advancing the principles of the ICPD, the effective implementation of the Country Programme Action Plan 2016-2020, and the nationalization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Turkmenistan. UNFPA Country Director assured the Ministry that the UN agency stands ready to provide technical expertise in integration of the reproductive and maternal health, youth, gender and data related SDG targets and indicators into the national development programmes and strategies.
UNFPA Country Director congratulated Mr. Nurmuhammet Amannepesov, the Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan on the well-rounded reforms in the healthcare sector, particularly the strengthening of the reproductive health system. The country now begins to implement a total market approach in making contraceptives and family planning services available to the population, and Ms. Yabuta expressed readiness of UNFPA in working with the Government to ensure that the needs of vulnerable women are met in their access to family planning services.
The sides further discussed the continued partnership of the Government and UNFPA in the areas of prevention and treatment of cervical cancer, integrating reproductive health services on primary healthcare level, and expanding youth-friendly services in Turkmenistan. UNFPA Country Director commended the steps taken by the Government towards enhancing the national ownership of its health development programmes and reaffirmed UNFPA’s readiness to continue expert support in the Government’s goal to expand the opportunities of women and young people to lead healthy lives. This can specifically be realized through integrating the indicators of the Goal 3 on health and well-being and Goal 5 on gender equality into the strategies and development plans of the Ministry.
Ms. Yabuta met with Ms. Ayna Orayeva, the Chairperson of the State Statistics Committee and commended the Government’s socio-economic progress, and reinforced UNFPA’s commitment to provide expert support on population data analysis and forecasting. UNFPA Country Director also congratulated the Chairperson with the ongoing integration of the SDGs. She informed that UNFPA stands ready in supporting the integration of the ICPD related SDG targets and indicators, including the indicators of Goal 17 on data, into the national development programmes and strategies, and sectoral plan of SSC, as well as in establishing systems to measure progress in implementation of actions towards the SDGs.
UNFPA delegation also held talks on the prospect of cooperation in the area of gender equality and women empowerment with the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights. Mieko Yabuta congratulated the National Institute for coordinating role in implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Gender Equality in Turkmenistan for 2015-2020, an important instrument for addressing CEDAW Concluding observations and advancing gender equality in Turkmenistan.
The sides agreed that there is a need to establish the monitoring and evaluation system for the National Action Plan, and UNFPA will partner with the National Institute in this area to help measure the success and results of the Plan. UNFPA Country Director also congratulated the efforts of the Government in conducting the domestic violence survey, which is part of the NAP. The survey will well complement the ongoing work of the National Institute and partner ministries in sensitizing the population on the concept of gender equality and existing forms of gender-based violence.
As part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary, UNFPA also participated in lecture series and UN Open House Day. Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative delivered an interactive lecture to the students of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the International University of Humanities and Development of Turkmenistan.
On 3rd March, the United Nations has opened its door to the partners and guests to celebrate the anniversary of UN and Turkmenistan cooperation. Ms. Garabayeva spoke to around 100 guests, including students and representatives of mass media and public organizations, who had the opportunity to visit the UN building, about the work of UNFPA globally and in Turkmenistan.
At the end of the official mission, the UNFPA delegation visited the birth giving facilities in Gokdepe as well as the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Ashgabat to review the existing services in the area of maternal health and emergency obstetric care.
Collaboration between UNFPA and the Government of Turkmenistan has resulted in recent years in improved quality of family planning and neonatal services due to standardization of clinical practice. The government is continuing to increase its investments in maternity and child healthcare.
“The clinical protocols adopted with UNFPA support have helped to enhance the delivery of services within our facilities,” said Bahar Bekmuradova, Deputy Director of the Geokdepe birth giving facility. “The concise and clear instructions are extremely useful in our day-to day practice, but particularly during the emergency situations, which in the end help us prevent maternal and neonatal deaths or further complications.”
Ms. Yabuta thanked the partners for such fruitful cooperation and presented them the newly published Clinical protocols on neonatal health, which was developed jointly by the technical experts of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and UNFPA international expert.
“The improving maternal health outcomes in the country demonstrate that the enhanced effort of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, supported by UNFPA, is paying off,” said Ms. Mieko Yabuta. “UNFPA will continue to partner with the Ministry in creating a sustainable and equitable delivery of high quality perinatal health services in all parts of the country.”
Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative
Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate
Web: turkmenistan.unfpa.org, tm.one.un.org