Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been supporting the improvement of maternal and child health care in Tajikistan as one of its priority areas.

According to JICA Office in Dushanbe, the cooperation focuses on strengthening maternal and child health system through technical cooperation projects, provision of equipment, as well as capacity building of health workers in Khatlon province and Dushanbe.

JICA has also been supporting the implementation of a Maternal and Child Health Handbook (MCH Handbook).  MCH Handbook is a tool kept by family that contains health records and information on safe pregnancy, delivery and child care.  To date around 40 countries have introduced MCH Handbook, and Japan, where the Handbook first originated, has been supporting 25 countries all over the world.  As for Tajikistan, the Handbook was first pre-tested in Dushanbe, Khorog, Panjakent, Sarband and Rasht in 2016 and now is being introduced by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and Development Partners in 38 districts of the country.

JICA has reportedly provided technical support for development of technical guidelines for health workers on implementation of MCH Handbook, sent Tajikistan specialists to Japan and other countries to attend seminars and conferences aiming to learn international experiences of MCH Handbook. JICA has also dispatched Japanese experts on MCH Handbook to support its smooth introduction and implementation in Tajikistan. 

To further enhance the implementation of the Handbook, JICA supported the participation of two representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (Ms. Bunafsha Jonova, Head of Business Planning and Analysis of Family Medicine Development, Republican Training and Clinical Center of Family Medicine and Ms. Sadorat Mavlonova, Obstetrician and Gynecologist of the Dushanbe City Health Center) in the JICA Third Country Training Program in Indonesia from September 2 to September 8, 2017.  The training was organized under the cooperation between the Government of Indonesia and JICA inviting delegates from Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines and Thailand with extensive experience in using MCH Handbook, and Tajikistan and Afghanistan which have recently started its implementation.  The main purpose of the training was to share knowledge and experience in MCH Handbook implementation, to discuss strategy for scaling up MCH service through collaboration with related programs.

During the training, Tajikistan delegates presented progresses and challenges of MCH Handbook implementation in the country.  Some of good practices that Tajikistan has made are: MCH Handbook’s translation in two languages (Russian and Uzbek) to promote social inclusion of the marginalized, especially ethnic minorities, scaling up coverage from 5 to 38 districts during a short period of time, and preparation of health workers at national, regional and district levels.  It is also worth mentioning that Tajikistan delegates found out the importance of involving community and local authorities for effective implementation of MCH Handbook.

At the end of the training, Tajikistan delegates presented their future action plan which focuses on improving monitoring system and conducting process assessment of MCH Handbook implementation. In a longer perspective, they will continue working on bringing together efforts of different stakeholders for achieving Tajikistan’s strategic goals on improving maternal and child health. 

JICA intends to continue to provide assistance in strengthening the implementation of MCH Handbook in Tajikistan together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan.

JICA began its technical cooperation with Tajikistan in 1993 by inviting Tajik officials to gain knowledge and experience on governance and macroeconomics development.  At the end of March 2016, the total number of participants to JICA’s Knowledge Co-Creation Programs, formerly called Training Programs, has exceeded 2000 people. JICA Tajikistan Office was established in 2006, and since then various Grant Aid and Technical Cooperation projects have been implemented more dynamically, aiming at improving living standard of Tajik people through cooperation in such sectors as agriculture and rural development, water supply, health, transport, energy, capacity building etc.  JICA’s cumulative investment in all sectors amounted 82.06 million USD for Technical Cooperation and 256.55 million USD for Grant Assistance with 32 (on-going and implemented) projects.