Major achievements of EU-funded health program discussed in Dushanbe
The first Steering Committee meeting of the Health Development Program, a European Union-funded program implemented by WHO, GIZ and UNICEF, highlighted important progress made towards Universal Health Coverage in Tajikistan during the first year of implementation.
The Steering Committee, consisting of high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population and the Ministry of Finance, as well as heads of the implementing partners and the European Union Delegation to Tajikistan, met for the first time. The Committee yesterday discussed the major achievements of the multi-partner program during the first year of implementation and looked at the main priorities for the upcoming year.
“The Health Development Program has already made a significant contribution to our national health agenda. We greatly value our partnership with the European Union, WHO, GIZ and UNICEF.” – Dr. Ghafour Muhsinzoda, the First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of the Population and Member of the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee applauded the significant technical assistance provided by WHO in health financing, supporting the Republic of Tajikistan to increase the overall funding available for health and to put in place efficient mechanisms to finance healthcare across the country. The important contributions made by GIZ to rehabilitate primary health care facilities, and to integrate primary health care services in various districts, were highlighted during the Steering Committee discussions. UNICEF’s assessments of -and efforts to improve- infection prevention and control were commended. These actions are essential to improve the prevention of infectious diseases spreading in health care facilities and among the population.
“The Health Development Program is bringing partners together to make Universal Health Coverage a reality in Tajikistan. The ownership of the program at the highest level has led to effective action and consultation to move our common agenda forward. This first Steering Committee has shown the power of partnership.” – Mr. Marc Buchmann, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to the Republic of Tajikistan and Member of the Steering Committee.
The 52.2 million euro Health Development Program is funded by the European Union (EU) and follows more than three decades of EU support to the Republic of Tajikistan to deliver on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Health Development Program, with the slogan ‘leave no-one’s health behind’, runs from 2021 to 2025. During the first year of implementation, the three implementing organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO), Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have jointly provided significant support to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is an important objective of the new National Health Strategy up to 2030, which ensures essential health services are available to all Tajiks, without causing them financial hardship.
The EU has financed health systems strengthening in Tajikistan for more than 10 years investing over 60 million Euros to support the Government in its commitment to Universal Health Coverage. Past EU funding in the sector has contributed to the strengthening of evidence-based policy making and regulatory roles, the greater efficiency of primary health care system through better financing, improved and better equipped facilities and enhanced qualifications and skills for medical personnel. The development and digitalization of the health management information system to collect reliable statistical data was also made possible through EU funding.
Most recently, the EU supported the response to COVID-19 with 4.6 million euros that helped finance protective equipment for over 1500 frontline health workers and equip 80 hospitals with much needed ventilators for the most afflicted patients.
Building up immunization systems is a fundamental part of the work the EU does with Gavi and partner countries to strengthen health systems. Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, and the EU is committed to donate 200 million doses of covid-19 vaccines to low-and-middle income countries. The EU is also a key financing partner to the Global Fund, the Global Financing Facility and the Universal Health Coverage Partnership – all working toward improved access to quality healthcare services for the Tajik population.