Assessment of children’s rights in the hospitals of Tajikistan

WHO/Boboeva Halima

The WHO Country Office in Tajikistan conducted an assessment of children’s rights in 10 central district hospitals in Khatlon Oblast within the framework of a project funded by the Russian Federation on improving the quality of hospital care for children. This work is part of a broader WHO/Europe initiative on fulfillment of children's rights in health care settings.

Data collected in April–May 2013 has been analysed and summarized in a report to be used for decision- making on improving the quality of services with a focus on children's rights.

Structure of the study

The assessment focused on various stakeholder groups (hospital managers, health care workers, children aged 6–11 years, children aged 12–18 years, parents and other family members of the child) and evaluated conditions and practices in the hospitals based on standards for the extent to which:

  • all children receive the highest possible quality of care;
  • the provision of medical services follows the principles of equality and non-discrimination; 
  • health services are provided in safe, clean and appropriate conditions for all children;  
  • the rights of all children for protection against all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, rough, careless or negligent treatment, all forms of abuse, including sexual violence, are respected.

Outcomes

The assessment demonstrated that the hospitals’ administration respects the children's right to protection from all forms of violence. Mechanisms are in place to refer cases to local law enforcement agencies, social services and other agencies as appropriate. There is also a system for recording and tracking cases in which children were victims of abuse. Pain management and relief protocols have been implemented, and patients receive palliative care and psychosocial support.

In addition to the positive findings, the report highlights, among other issues, the need to:

  • implement evidence-based protocols and national legislation on key aspects of the provision of hospital care for children;
  • eliminate fees for the provision of care and food for children;
  • obtain informed consent.

WHO is planning follow-up activities to address the identified issues and the further promotion of children’s rights.  

Background

Nothing matters more to families than the health, welfare and success of their children. Respecting the rights of children includes ensuring that they receive the best health care services possible.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 24) defines children's right to health, as applying “not only to timely and appropriate prevention, health promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care, but also growth and development for the realization of their full potential and living conditions that allow them to achieve the highest attainable standard of health, through programs that focus on the determinants of health".