Turkmenistan: Improving the quality of children's health care

By January 2005, MSF was working in the hospital's three pediatric wards (general, infectious disease and intensive care) and caring for neonates in the maternity ward.

The predominant conditions for which MSF treats children are diarrhea and respiratory infections. MSF provides these wards with medical staffing support, medicines, medical tools and equipment. Since early 2005, the central laboratory has received intensive MSF technical support and training which has resulted in significantly improved diagnostic services.

To improve and maintain hygienic conditions, MSF has made clean water and sanitation facilities available in three of the four supported wards, and plans to do the same for the remaining MSF-supported facilities shortly. MSF has also supported significant improvements to the management of medical waste, for which a waste compound was constructed at the hospital in May 2005.

MSF recently expanded its primary care work by joining family doctors and nurses in their work at the Magdanly city poly-clinic. Since July 2005, in cooperation with the poly-clinic team, MSF runs a child screening room where MSF staff perform triage with children before giving possible treatment.

MSF also started supporting three "health houses," which operate like outpatient clinics. In addition, MSF volunteers train local health professionals, including general practitioners, to help them make better diagnoses and improve their treatment of children. The training program hopes to set an example of appropriate and high-quality care for children throughout the country.

MSF has worked in Turkmenistan since 1999.