President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, addressing via digital system the International Forum on Northern Economic Cooperation held in the Republic of Korea on November 18th, stressed that today the real state of affairs requires a joint approach in combating the pandemic and minimizing the negative socio-economic and humanitarian consequences caused by the expansion of its scale.
A few days ago, a delegation of the World Health Organization (WHO) headed by the Regional Director for Emergencies in the WHO European Bureau, Ms. Dorit Nitzan, visited our country. The delegation included experts in epidemiology and surveillance, emergency preparedness and response, data collection, environment and health, and noncommunicable diseases.
During the meetings held in various ministries and departments, medical facilities and specialized higher educational institutions, the delegation discussed a wide range of issues related to further implementation of the agreements reached during the meeting of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the Regional Director of the WHO European Office, Dr. Hans Kluge, who visited Ashgabat to participate in the International Conference of Medical Scientists “Medical Diplomacy - the Basis for a Healthy World.”
The members of the delegation exchanged views with their Turkmen colleagues on the draft “Road Map” of Turkmenistan-WHO cooperation and discussed the organization of regular high-level meetings in order to accelerate the implementation of joint agreements. The important organizational role of the interagency working group in proposing and agreeing on various aspects of cooperation was noted.
In the context of the aforementioned speech by the leader of the nation at the International Forum on Northern Economic Cooperation, proposals were voiced on a number of initiatives of the Turkmen side, including creation of the Central Asian Regional Center for Epidemiology, Virology and Bacteriology, as well as decision to build a Research and Production Center for Epidemiology, Virology and Bacteriology in Turkmenistan.
The visiting side also discussed the proposal of H. Kluge on the application of the concept of “Unified health care” in planning and promotion of the project of the Regional Center for Epidemiology, as well as proposals to further improve the activities of the primary health care system, the development of the health information base and “digital medicine”.
During the meetings Turkmen specialists emphasized to their colleagues from the World Health Organization that the main directions for development of the health care system in Turkmenistan are defined in the new edition of the State Program “Saglyk” and the Action Plan for its implementation for 2021-2025, approved by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in March this year.
The goal of the Program is to further improve the health care system based on an integrated approach to health promotion and disease prevention, increase the life expectancy of the population, and provide it with high-quality medical services at the level of world standards.
Signing this document, the head of state emphasized that within the framework of the ongoing reforms aimed at fundamental transformations in this strategic area, it is planned to build modern medical centers, purchase advanced equipment from the world's best manufacturers, train highly qualified specialists, and improve drug supply mechanisms. Increased attention should be paid to active preventive work, motivating people to a healthy lifestyle and giving up bad habits.
Specific areas of work in the health sector are also defined in such documents as the National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Turkmenistan for 2021–2025, approved this year, and the Action Plan for its implementation; National strategy “Healthy mother - healthy child - healthy future” on maternal and child health in Turkmenistan for 2021–2025 and the Action Plan for its implementation; The National Program to Increase the Immunity of the Population in Turkmenistan for 2021–2025; a new Country Preparedness and Response Plan for Acute Communicable Disease.
In all regions, medical diagnostic centers, Ene-mähri centers, emergency ambulance centers, clinical and scientific clinical centers, multidisciplinary hospitals and sanatoriums equipped with medical equipment from leading world companies have been built and commissioned.
State and non-state organizations pay special attention to the protection of motherhood and the health of children, including those from vulnerable groups. Thus, new ambulances were received by the pediatric departments of hospitals in all five velayats at the expense of the Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov Charitable Foundation, created in March this year. The Foundation also systematically allocates funds for medical operations for children in need of guardianship.
It is also appropriate to remind here that solemn ceremonies of commissioning two healthcare facilities took place on November 10th in the Balkan velayat, with participation of the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov. In the city of Turkmenbashi, a new building of communicable disease hospital was opened, equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology from well-known manufacturers from Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Great Britain and the People's Republic of China. And in the Magtymguly etrap, the modern infrastructure of the healthcare sector was supplemented by a hospital designed for 50 inpatient and 30 outpatient beds.
On November 21-24, a representative group of Turkmen specialists was sent to the city of Munich, to the Grosshadern clinic of the Maximilian-Ludwig University of Munich as part of the established practice of improving the qualifications of workers in the national health care system and further strengthening fruitful cooperation with German partners.
With the active participation of the WHO country office at the state level, a Preparedness and Rapid Response Plan for Turkmenistan in case of coronavirus infection was developed and approved. Since vaccination is considered the most reliable barrier against its spread, more than 70 percent of the population in our country has already been vaccinated.
Developed with technical support from UNICEF and WHO and adopted in 2020, the National Program for Healthy Nutrition of the Population of Turkmenistan for 2020–2025 is aimed at promoting health and preventing nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases.
In light of the complex epidemiological situation in the world, the Law of Turkmenistan “On the Prevention of Infectious Diseases”, which came into force this year, defining legal, organizational, economic and social basis for prevention of infectious diseases, is of particular relevance.
The members of the WHO delegation, noting with satisfaction that the health care system is being brought into line with the requirements of the time, activities for prevention, detection and treatment of various infectious diseases are steadily improving in accordance with the State Program “Saglyk” developed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, expressed confidence that their current visit will further promote and strengthen cooperation between Turkmenistan, the World Health Organization and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Thus, today, Turkmenistan, systematically developing interaction with the World Health Organization, as well as with other specialized structures of the United Nations, has gained solid experience in building up a substantive dialogue in the field of medical diplomacy, developing effective solutions to issues in the field of human health, and exchange of scientific data on prevention and control of dangerous diseases.