WHO project to strengthen health care in Tajikistan

Natural disasters and humanitarian crises place additional strains on health facilities when they are needed most. A new project launched in Tajikistan will help 16 hospitals to withstand disasters and emergencies, and rehabilitate primary health care facilities damaged by severe flooding in 2009. The year-long project is funded by the Government of Japan.

The project has two components. The first, led by WHO, is to improve the ability of 16 Tajik hospitals in districts along the 1200 km border with Afghanistan to withstand disasters and emergencies and to continue to provide healthcare. More than 1.2 million Tajik people, and displaced persons from Afghanistan are expected to benefit from the project through improved access to health care.

The second part of the project focuses on rehabilitating primary health care facilities in the Panj and Kumsangir districts of the country, that were affected by severe flooding in 2009. Staff will also be trained in combating water-borne diseases, preventing and treating childhood infectious diseases. It is being run by the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, a French nongovernmental organization working in Tajikistan.

In recent years, WHO has placed particular focus on ensuring that health facilities and staff cope in a crisis. In 2010 and 2011, WHO/Europe is conducting Hospital Vulnerability Analyses in nine countries in the Region. Following the assessments, WHO provides technical support for the development and implementation of action plans to improve the security of the health facilities.

Hospital resilience and safety as an integral part of crisis preparedness has also been the focus of the global campaign "Hospitals Safe from Disasters", which was launched in 2008 by WHO and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), with support from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) of the World Bank. In addition, World Health Day 2009 was dedicated to the topic "Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies".