The First Steering Committee Meeting of a new JICA Technical Cooperation “Project for Improving Maternal and Child Health Care System in Khatlon Province (Phase 2)” that took place here on October 3 presented the outline of the project and agreed on its activity plan.

According to the JICA Office in Dushanbe, the Project was launched in August 2017 and aims at strengthening maternal, newborn and infant healthcare system in 6 districts of Khatlon. 

Co-chaired by Dr. Kamolzoda, Deputy Minister of Health, and Dr. Sodikova, Advisor to the Minister, the meeting reportedly brought together head physicians of hospitals from the target areas: Norek city, Baljuvon district, Khovaling district, Muminobod district, Bokhara district, and Sarband city.  Representatives from Embassy of Japan and JICA Tajikistan office, and experts of the Project were also present from the Japanese side.

Mrs. Akiyama, Chief Advisor of the Project, first presented the Project overview together with indicators of measuring outcomes, which include “increase of institutional delivery and decrease of newborn mortality and stillbirth” at central district hospitals.  She also presented on plans of baseline survey which is one of the first activities of the Project starting in October.  The importance of coordination with other development partners’ programs was highlighted in order to prevent any duplications but to maximize outcomes.

On the basis of achievements from the Project Phase 1, participants from Tajik side expressed great expectations for the new Project which covers rural area of Khatlon province where challenges remain considerable, such as limited access to MCH services and lack of sufficient water and drainage system at health facilities.

The Project aiming to improve maternal, newborn and infant health status through strengthening MCH system will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 "Ensure healthy life for all ages and promote welfare" and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) "All people receive services for adequate health promotion, prevention, treatment, and functional recovery at affordable costs".

The Government of Japan acknowledged the sovereignty of Tajikistan in December 1991.  Since then, Japan and Tajikistan have developed friendly and tight bilateral relationship.  JICA began its capacity building cooperation with Tajikistan in 1993 by offering 21 seats for Tajik officials to study in Japan.  Total number of participants in training Tajik officials in Japan covers more than 2000 people from early 1993 until 2017.  The Government of Japan mainly focuses on health, agriculture, transport, drinking water supply and energy sectors through these training programs.