Regional Director reviews health progress in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan Administration

The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, was in Turkmenistan this week to participate in celebrations marking the sixteenth anniversary of the national health programme, to review the progress made in the health sector, and discuss future priorities for collaboration.

She met with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, and discussed with him the country’s achievements and challenges in public health. Turkmenistan has been certified as malaria free, and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It is working to sustain its polio-free status, eliminate measles and rubella, and provide high vaccination coverage. In addition, the Regional Director was invited to participate in the opening ceremonies for new medical facilities: well-equipped centres for ophthalmic care and for emergency surgery and trauma care.

WHO/Europe is consulting all Member States in the WHO European Region on the new European policy for health and well-being, Health 2020. It will provide a unifying vision and values-based policy framework for health development and will promote an integrated and comprehensive approach to health improvement, with a renewed focus on and a rejuvenated commitment to public health capacity, and a whole-of-government approach.

Dr Bahtygul Karriyeva, of the WHO Country Office, Turkmenistan gave an address at an international conference on the Regional Director’s behalf. She drew attention to progress in the health sector in Turkmenistan, even though much remained to be done, and summarized the rapid societal changes across the Region and the key challenges facing countries.

The Regional Director also held meetings with the Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, Dr Gurbanmammet Elyasov. They discussed the implementation of the current biennial collaborative agreement, the priorities for 2012–2023 and continued collaboration between the country and WHO/Europe.