Save the Children: cooperation for the benefit of children

Friday 19 January 2018

In 2017, the Save the Children projects were aimed at organizing and equipping medical aid stations, improving the quality of primary health care, combating maternal and newborn mortality, organizing emergency transport and reducing risks from natural disasters.

For two years, from 2016 till the end of 2017, the project "Mother and Child Health" was implemented in Tursunzade district. Within the framework of this program, full technical equipment was provided for medical aid stations in 60 villages. In addition, different types of construction materials were delivered for the repair and construction of about half of those medical stations.
The main goal of the program was to reduce the mortality of the population, especially mothers and newborns, by improving the quality of medical care in rural health centers. The target beneficiaries of the project were children under 5 years of age, women of childbearing age, and employees of rural primary healthcare centers.
In addition to the transfer of technical equipment and medical supplies, such as gynecological examination chairs, obstetrical instrument sets, medical equipment and furniture for anthropometry of children and adults, blood pressure measurement devices etc., there were held training sessions on community participation in health development in  each village. Also within the framework of the project there were organized trainings about "Mother and Child Health" and various educational contests for children.
Now the project villages have fully equipped primary health care centers and emergency transport funds, and activist groups from local residents are ready to contribute to the development of health at the local level.
In order to strengthen the primary health care system in the country, in close cooperation with the specialists of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan and with the active involvement of the community, there has being implementing project SINO in five pilot regions of the country, which was launched in 2013 and will be continued until 2021. According to the National Health Strategy for 2010-2020, the goal of this project is to improve the health of the population in the rural regions, with the participation of the community, through improved primary health care focused on family medicine.

As a result of the implementation of the program, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, a better planning and management in the field was provided, and the activities carried out increased the involvement of local communities in improving the situation in primary health care. In each project village there were organized community health teams, which consist of up to 60 people, who are now actively involved in the process of improving the quality of health services and promoting healthy lifestyles.
Within the framework of the project there were developed and published printed and video materials providing up-to-date information on the importance of breastfeeding, the prevention of diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. During the last reporting period of the project, employees of the regional healthy lifestyle centers and primary health care centers conducted a series of educational activities among the rural population that covered approximately 100,448 people. During the meetings with communities, medical workers discussed the problems of preventing such diseases as hypertension, anemia, diabetes, goiter, helminthiosis, tuberculosis, drug addiction, anthrax, sexually transmitted infections. Also a separate attention was paid to the importance of breastfeeding for child health.
In close coordination with the departments of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, employees of rural healthy lifestyle centers and primary health care centers and members of local communities, four health campaigns were conducted among the rural population. The campaigns were conducted at the community level in cooperation with primary health care workers, community members and village councils to promote the health of school children and teachers in local schools. Such cooperation not only demonstrated the effectiveness of the way to disseminate information about personal health and hygiene, but also presupposes the duration of a positive effect in the field of public health care. To facilitate the perception of new information almost all trainings were organized in an interactive form. During the project, teachers and pupils of local community schools joined the process of disseminating health care information.
One of the objectives of the project was to involve community groups to organize and support a transport fund. This problem has not yet been fully resolved, but progress can already be seen: in remote villages volunteers organized emergency transport funds for the delivery of patients, and already 22 cases are known where women and children from low-income families were able to receive urgent medical help in a timely manner. 
Along with health care problems, today climate change is also considered as one of the important subjects of attention of the world community, which requires a prompt and specific steps to mitigate possible consequences. Save the Children International, in close cooperation with the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Tajikistan, is implementing a series of activities to reduce the possible risks from natural disasters. Inclusive DRR guideline was developed and successfully integrated into the formal training program in 15 schools and 6 special schools for children with disabilities, in the target regions. 1300 copies of the guidelines were printed and handed over to the CoES and Ministry of Education and Science.

As a result of the measures taken, the population of the selected regions learned how to independently mobilize and use their own resources to reduce the possible risks from various natural disasters. Moreover, in the boarding schools for children with disabilities, special activities were conducted to teach the rules of conduct and actions in emergency situations. This program has contributed to strengthening disaster preparedness at the national, local and community levels, taking into account the emphasis on effective use of resources, gender equality and joint ownership.

Save the Children has been working in Tajikistan continuously since 1992. The main areas of intervention includes Disaster Risk Reduction, Education, Child Protection, Health, Migration and Women Empowering. To date, in Central Asia, through Save the Children International’s activities more than 200,000 children in more than 5,000 schools have participated in Child Led Organizations (CLOs) that interact with Parents Teacher Associations and Village Committees. These organizations contributed to the participation of children and parents in decision-making and improving the quality of education.
During the last decade, Save the Children International in Tajikistan has mounted emergency responses to: Kulyab Flood (2010); Polio Outbreak (2010); Khuroson mudslide (2009); Severe Winter, Economic and Food Crisis (2007-2008); Penjakent Floods (2005). In addition, the organization has responded to numerous smaller emergencies such as floods, mudslides, and avalanches.