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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
IMPACT: Improving Access to Quality Health Care for Rural Women and Children
Elmira Bazarova, a resident of Buyrachi village in the Shavat district of Khorezm, has two children: an eight-year-old daughter named Gulsanam and a three-year-old son, Islambek. They are part of a large family consisting of four generations. They all agree that Islambek, everyone’s favourite, is good-natured like his grandfather.
Due to Islambek's height and weight, bringing him into the world was not easy, both for him and his mom. "I had a very large foetus,” Elmira recounts. "My second pregnancy was difficult, and village health workers helped me with advice and appointments throughout the term." At the end of pregnancy, she stayed in the township hospital to prepare for birth. “I was taken for consultation at the Shavat district hospital, and fr om there we went to the Urgench city hospital. There I gave birth to a boy weighing 5.6 kilograms!”
The child received a head injury at birth due to his weight. He was transferred to the intensive care unit, where he was under medical supervision for four days. “I was always by Islambek while the doctors treated him,” Elmira recalls. “Thanks to the doctors' help, good care and the fact that I could be by my son, we went home soon.”
Elmira returned to Buyrachi with her new son, and they met with a nurse visiting from the local clinic. “In addition to the benefits of hygiene and vaccination, which I already knew about, she told me new things that I didn't know, like advantages of exclusive breastfeeding for a child under six months of age and how to recognize the danger signs for child health. After the birth trauma, Islambek had no complications, and since then he only caught cold once."
The story of Elmira and Islambek is just one example of the successful joint work of UNICEF, European Union and the Government of Uzbekistan to improve access to quality health care for women and children. The “Improvement of Mother and Child Health Services in Uzbekistan” Project, which was co-financed by the European Union, introduced international standards and protocols to ensure safe pregnancies, delivery and care for newborns and children. It also built the capacity of medical professionals to provide quality mother and child health services.
In addition, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health to strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks in the area of maternal and child health services, providing technical assistance to update normative documents in line with international recommendations.
As a result of the Project interventions, the hospitals and clinics wh ere Elmira sought medical treatment were able to provide her with quality care throughout her pregnancy, childbirth and nursing her child.