Scaling up Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy implementation in Turkmenistan


The Ministry of Health, Turkmenistan and the medical industry, in cooperation with WHO/Europe, UNICEF and USAID organized a stakeholders meeting on scaling up the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy implementation and strengthening the health system support in Ashgabat, 12-13 April 2011.

IMCI guidelines have been successfully implemented in 14 etraps of Turkmenistan as a tool for basic child care provided at primary health care facilities. IMCI is a tool for strengthening primary health care, rationalizing use of drugs and reducing unnecessary hospitalizations. Although the links between health system changes and IMCI have been emphasized from the very beginning in Turkmenistan, inconsistent legislation, epidemiological rules and procedures and lack of systematic monitoring have interfered with an efficient strategy implementation. To identify barriers in the health system for effective and sustainable implementation of the IMCI strategy, a quality assessment of IMCI care was conducted and documented in 2008.

The aim of the workshop was to share the results of the IMCI survey with major stakeholders and achieve consensus on recommendations for policy decisions on scaling up implementation as one of the priorities in the national health system development plan. Participants included leading specialists of the Ministry of Health of Turkmenistan and the medical industry; representatives of the national IMCI center and regional health authorities; and international organizations (WHO, UNICEF, USAID).

During the meeting participants discussed the findings of the IMCI survey, major barriers in the health system support such as lack of sustainable supervision and monitoring, supportive legislation, drug provision, health workforce training and their feasible solutions. Using the WHO health system framework, participants developed recommendations that will shape an IMCI national strategic action plan aimed at strengthening the health system for improved access, quality and coverage with integrated child health services in Turkmenistan.