MSF success with child care though Turkmenistan health care remains poor

MSF hopes to get a better picture of the medical situation in Magdanly through the new facility.

An MSF out-patient facility (OPD) that opened just two weeks ago in the hospital of neglected Turkmen city, in the east of Turkmenistan, is a success already. The hospital services a local population of 34,000 and the MSF clinic focuses on children aged up to 15 years. So far, 50 to 100 children visit the clinic every day.

The national health system is neglected, particularly in health care for children. There is hardly any antenatal or neonatal care in the country. Deaths of children under two years old are not recorded. Vaccination is still going on, but there are doubts about the effectiveness and the coverage.

MSF hopes to get a better picture of the medical situation in Magdanly via the patients that come to the new OPD.

Currently MSF is the only foreign NGO working in Turkmenistan and activity started in Magdanly area in Lebab province in April 2004. MSF started working in Turkmenistan in 1999.

Prior to opening the OPD, the team renovated four wards in the hospital; installed a waste processing system there; and overhauled the laboratory. However, due to the strict regulations in Turkmenistan, it has been difficult for the team to establish an obstetric and gynaecological programme. As gathering medical data is forbidden, it is impossible for the team to get a picture of the needs or even MSF's effectiveness.