Improving survival and care of newborns in Turkmenistan

In December 2010 WHO/Europe, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National MCH Centre, conducted a national capacity building training course on updated IMCI clinical guidelines: “Management of sick infants 0-2 months”. By April 2011 national trainers carried out similar courses in all five velayats and trained 100 family doctors. These courses were supported by the WHO Country Office in Turkmenistan and USAID/Quality Project in Turkmenistan.

The participant course evaluations showed that the content and presentation of the updated course was clear, logical and useful. Several new components of the algorithm such as jaundice in infants 0 to 2 months and proper care (thermal control and early and exclusive breastfeeding) addressed the most important and common needs of families with newborn babies. Some of the feedback from the family doctors included comments such as:

  • “I am not afraid anymore to examine and treat newborn babies”
  • “After this workshop I’ve got knowledge and skills on how to manage newborns with jaundice”
  • “I didn't know that hypothermia, even a decrease of 0.5-1º C may pose a newborn at the lethal risk”
  • “I can immediately use a Kramer scale for the assessment of newborn jaundice and do not need to postpone treatment waiting for the laboratory test”.

Use of the updated algorithm will likely increase correct and timely assessment of sick newborn babies, proper treatment and counselling of mothers and as result, improve newborn survival and care.