Promotion of the water safety plan approach to ensuring safe drinking-water in Tajikistan

Nazokat Isaeva

A workshop to raise awareness of the value of the water safety plan (WSP) approach among national stakeholders in the health, environment and water sectors as well as international and nongovernmental organizations was organized in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 13 August 2014. It also supported the development of a longer-term vision and a national roadmap towards WSP scale-up in Tajikistan.

The WSP approach is recommended by the WHO “Guidelines for drinking-water quality” as the most effective way of ensuring the provision of safe drinking-water, especially in rural areas. The WSP approach focuses on holistic risk management from catchment to consumer and the prevention of waterborne diseases. It emphasizes step-by-step actions to be undertaken by communities, local authorities and other stakeholders to strengthen their efforts towards identification of risks to public health, effective operation and maintenance of drinking-water supply systems and development of incremental improvement plans.

Ongoing implementation of the WSP approach

In 2011–2012, WHO/Europe supported piloting of the WSP approach in 2 rural water supplies of Tajikistan, as well as training of WSP facilitators. Based on this experience, a WSP field guide was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, which was published in English, Tajik and Russian. The WSP pilots provided a good basis for an initial evaluation and for informing policy-makers on the added value and feasibility of WSP uptake in the national context. Several initiatives are emerging to support further scale-up of WSP uptake in Tajikistan, particularly in rural areas.

International collaboration

WHO/Europe and Oxfam Tajikistan organized the WSP workshop in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan. Participants included high-level representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Committee of Environmental Protection, Committee of Architecture and Construction, state drinking water providers – SUE “Khojagii Manziliyu Kommunali” and SUE “Dushanbe Vodokanal” – and representatives of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, World Bank, European Commission, Japan International Cooperation Agency and other multilateral organizations.

Financial support for the workshop was provided by the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation (SDC), within the framework of Oxfam’s Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation project (TajWSS).