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In 12 of 29 CEECIS countries are at risk of not developing to their potential due to poverty, stunting or both.
IMPACT: New Families Feel the Results of the Health Project
Ulugbek Akhmedov and his wife Mokhira Bekchanova reside in Buyrachi village in the Shavat district of Khorezm. The couple takes the responsibility of maintaining the health of their family very seriously. They have two boys: seven-year-old Baburbek and two-year-old Firuzbek. Following the advice of local health workers, the couple waited five years to have their second child.
During her second pregnancy, Mokhira regularly visited the local health clinic to monitor her anaemia. She received a prescription for iron supplements and advice on diet and rest. Thanks to the competent and timely treatment, the pregnancy was uneventful, and Mokhira gave birth to a healthy baby.
Mokhira periodically brought the baby to the local paediatrician to monitor his growth. A local patronage nurse from the clinic visited the family to educate the parents on child care practices, enquiring about the mother’s health and nutrition, immunization schedule, and discussing contraception. "I thank God Baburbek and Firuzbek do not get sick,” said Mokhira. “The counselling we have received benefitted not only the children, but the whole family."
Ulugbek, a young businessman, appreciates the economic advantages of taking a proactive approach to health. "Good health means, among other things, savings for a family,” he said. “Less money is spent on medications, lab tests and procedures. It is not necessary to spend time in hospitals, wait in lines and – most importantly – take time away from work that is more beneficial for the family.”
This family highlights how the collaboration between UNICEF, the European Union and the Government of Uzbekistan contributed to improving maternal and child health services in the country. Since 2008, the “Improvement of Mother and Child Health Services (IMCHS) in Uzbekistan” Project, co-financed by the European Union, has developed medical training, equipment, and policy frameworks.
Health workers learned how to advise families of newborns and treat diseases in children under 5 years of age. The training encourages health workers to impart behaviour change through counselling on topics such as: exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life, nutrition, vaccination, hygiene and stimulating children’s development. In addition, helping families learn how to recognize the danger signs of conditions requiring to seek urgent medical care will help reduce infant and child mortality.
Children and mothers nationwide have already benefitted from the adoption of improved health care practices.
"Ulugbek and Mokhira are a much disciplined family in terms of following habits to maintain health,” reported Mokhira Matnazarova, a general practitioner at the Buyrachi rural health point, who received training during the Project. “The result: good health of both children and parents.”