Press Release

Strengthening data systems for better health outcomes

29 September 2016

Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan will establish the register on birth defects and development abnormalities, with support of UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund.

Two-day methodological seminar for the lead specialists of the Ministry and health practitioners from the fields allowed to review the best international practices and practical approaches to the establishment and maintenance of the registers, which have a potential to contribute to platforms for data management and analysis in health care.

Ms. Natalya Barbova, UNFPA international expert and Head of the hereditary diseases prevention lab at the UNFPA-partner Institute of Mother and Child’s Health in Moldova, led the discussions of the seminar and presented the best international practices in different types of registers with a specific focus on birth defects and development abnormalities. The steps in establishment and maintenance of registers, methods of analysis, processing of statistical data were also discussed at the seminar.

“The monitoring system of the birth defects helps us conduct dynamic tracking of frequency and structure of development abnormalities in various regions of the country,” said Ms. Barbova. “It also helps us evaluate the effectiveness of prevention activities for the babies born with birth defects, as well as create a database for analysis and research.”

In Turkmenistan, the Government has achieved considerable progress in improving the maternal and child health and reducing maternal, prenatal and infant mortality rates.  The new National Strategy and Action Plan for 2015-2019 on healthcare for mothers, newborns, children and adolescents in Turkmenistan reflects the recommendations of the evaluation of the previous strategy.

One of such recommendations calls for the support to early intervention in order to reduce and improve the early detection of congenital abnormalities, sensory deficit and chronic diseases, including the non-communicable ones. One way of approaching this recommendation is to record and monitor chronological data related to patients with a specific diagnosis or condition.  This will provide an opportunity to continuously monitor and analyze patient’s status and treatment outcomes, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of prediction and prevention strategies, medical interventions, health services, and health policies.

“The Ministry of Health has recently issued an Order on improving the data collection through creation of the registers,” said Dr. Muhammet Ergeshov, Head of the Treatment and Prophylactics Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan.  “The register on birth defects is one of 53 areas to be addressed.”  Establishment of government-supported disease registries will serve as a solid base for Turkmenistan’s health care system to benchmark and assess performance on various aspects of the health care system.

“Harnessing data for development is one of the strategic directions of UNFPA and successful cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan towards establishing the cancer register is a good example”, said Ms. Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Turkmenistan. “Within the framework of the fourth Country Programme 2016-2020, UNFPA will continue to support the Government-led data for development initiatives and work closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry in improving the quality of data and evidence-based analysis, which will result in better health care outcomes in the area of reproductive healthcare, including antenatal care”.


UNFPA: Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For additional information, please contact:

Bayramgul Garabayeva,

UNFPA Assistant Representative

Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate

Tel: 269255