Turkmenistan to speed up collaboration with WHO to strengthen health system
Turkmenistan will accelerate its collaboration with WHO to strengthen the national health system, with special emphasis on tuberculosis (TB) prevention and care, and human resources for health. A pilot project under way to improve the ambulatory hospital care on TB will be expanded to include hospitals. This was agreed between the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and WHO during a recent visit of a high-level team from the Regional Office to the country.
WHO/Europe's visit to Turkmenistan to promote people-centred health systems is in line with resolution EUR/RC65/13 on priorities for health systems strengthening in the WHO European Region 2015–2020 and in the context of universal health coverage.
Topics that were part of the agenda during the visit included:
- the country's approach to Sustainable Development Goals and Health 2020 implementation, and the scale up of activities in health system strengthening and in transforming service delivery towards integrated people-centred health care;
- an introduction to the "Global strategy on human resources for health: health workforce 2030" and guidance on a human resources for health assessment; and
- presentation of a new regional TB project to scale up health systems for effective TB and drug-resistant TB control (TB-REP).
Meetings were held with the Minister of Health and Medical Industry, deputy ministers of health and experts from key national public health institutions and organizations. The team also visited a TB centre, the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, a primary health care facility and the Turkmen State Medical University in Ashgabat.
Importance of strengthening health systems
The Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health at WHO/Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, emphasized the ongoing collaboration between the Regional Office and the Ministry and commended him on the visible progress achieved in many areas of work, including on tobacco and multidrug-resistant TB control and medical education. Furthermore, he underscored that there is currently momentum to expand the pilot project on strengthening ambulatory care for TB patients towards strengthening of people-centred care.
Dr Nurmuhammet Amannepesov, Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, welcomed the Regional Office's initiative, emphasizing the importance of health system strengthening on TB prevention and care in the country. Dr Viorel Soltan, Director of PAS Center, and Dr Galina Perfilieva, Programme Manager, Human Resources for Health at WHO/Europe, also participated in the meeting.
TB-REP is officially called "TB in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Project on Strengthening Health Systems for Effective TB and Drug Resistant-TB Care". The Global Fund pledged US$ 6 million over 3 years (2016–2018) for TB-REP.
The 11 TB-REP countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The project objectives are:
- to increase political commitment to end TB through regional cooperation and evidence sharing for effective and sustainable transformation of health systems; and
- to support countries in implementing effective and efficient TB service delivery systems with sustainable financing.