U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Elisabeth Millard, First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Ms. Saida Umarzoda, and Mercy Corps Country Director Garrett Hubbard yesterday welcomed government officials, donor representatives, and other stakeholders to a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the eight-year Maternal and Child Health Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe notes that since its launch in 2008 in Sughd province and Hisor district, the Maternal and Child Health Project has been at the forefront of USAID’s and Mercy Corps’ efforts to improve health, nutrition, and hygiene for women and children at the community and district levels. In 2013, the project closed out its activities in Sughd province and Hisor district and expanded to Khatlon province where it worked at the community, provincial, and district level for four years, addressing nutritional and hygiene challenges for mothers, children, and families. In Khatlon, project efforts increased quality nutrition practices for mothers and children and promoted protective hygiene and sanitation practices at the household level.
The Maternal and Child Health Project reportedly enabled nearly one million people in Tajikistan to lead healthier lifestyles. Results of project efforts include the increased ability of approximately 15,000 health personnel to provide nutrition counseling and family planning services; community engagement in improved nutrition and hygiene practices; adoption of modern family planning methods; and increased sanitation and hand washing at more than 955 schools and health facilities. The project worked to emphasize innovations in health, nutrition and hygiene, including a peer-to-peer training program for teenagers, improved latrines to promote better hygiene as well as employment for local masons, and a partnership with mobile provider Tсell to launch Tajikistan’s first mobile health messaging service, which reached more than 3,000 women with important health information.
The Maternal and Child Health Project is one of the many assistance projects made possible by the American people through USAID and the collaboration of the Ministry of Health and Social Services of the Republic of Tajikistan. Over the last 25 years, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has provided more than $1.8 billion in programs that support Tajikistan’s security, democratic institutions, social sector, and economic growth. Throughout 2017, Tajikistan and the United States will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations.