On the 5th of October 2020, a briefing was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan dedicated to cooperation of Turkmenistan with the international organizations in the area of healthcare.
The briefing focused on the recently signed Resolution of the President of Turkmenistan, in accordance with which the Minister of Health and Medical Industry was authorized to sign of behalf of the Turkmen side the Plan for Procurement of Vaccines and Immunization Devices in 2021-2025 under the Framework of the Standard “Memorandum of Understanding on the Provision of Procurement Services between the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund,” signed on 28 August 2015.
The heads and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, the chiefs of the diplomatic missions and representations of international organizations accredited in the country, as well as the representatives of national and foreign mass media participated to the briefing.
Opening the briefing, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan B.Myatiyev noted the special importance of the expansion of international cooperation of Turkmenistan in the field of healthcare.
During his speech, the Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan N.Amannepesov reflected the high indicators of the activities of the healthcare system in the framework of the implementation of the National Immunization Programme financed by the Government. He added that “the long-term practice of stable financing in the country enabled to build a strong system of immunization”.
The Head of UNICEF Office in Turkmenistan Ms.Christine Weigand highly appraised the cooperation with Turkmenistan in the field of healthcare, in particular in the area of protecting the children’s health. Ms. Weigand underlined that “Turkmenistan is a leader in the region and globally on sustaining nearly universal rates of vaccination.”
The Head of WHO Country Office in Turkmenistan Ms. Paulina Karwowska informed during her speech about the high efficiency of cooperation between Turkmenistan and WHO, as well as other international partners and donors.
This topic was further elaborated by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the European Union to Turkmenistan Diego Ruiz Alonso, who emphasized that Brussels pays special attention to cooperation in the area of healthcare and supports the preventive plans and programmes of Turkmenistan in relation to healthcare in the conditions of global pandemic.
In turn, the Rector of the State Medical University of Turkmenistan named after Myrat Garryev Ms.N.Myratnazarova noted that “in recent years, Turkmenistan has achieved great results, conducting continuous and extensive work in the field of immunization and the effective use of evidence-based approaches in the field of public health.”
The Government of Turkmenistan significantly increased the financing of immunization of the population. The country adheres to the long-term cooperation with the UN and its specialized agencies. In this regard, the collaboration of the country with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is stipulated by the efficient implementation of joint programs and plans on the national level aimed at the enhancement of measures in the area of healthcare, including the social security system on the way to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In the framework of the event, the signing of the Plan for Procurement of Vaccines and Immunization Devices in 2021-2025 under the Framework of the Standard “Memorandum of Understanding on the Provision of Procurement Services between the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund,” signed on 28 August 2015 took place.
This Document was signed by the Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan N.Amannepesov on the part of Turkmenistan and by the Head of UNICEF Office in Turkmenistan Ms. Christine Weigand on the part of UNICEF. /// MFA Turkmenistan, 5 Oct
Ashgabat, 5 October 2020 – UNICEF and the Government of Turkmenistan have signed a five-year plan today to procure vaccines and vaccine related equipment worth 83 million USD. The vaccines that will be procured by UNICEF on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan under the new Plan for 2021-2025 will protect children from fourteen vaccine preventable diseases and will ensure the continuity of the immunization programme in Turkmenistan.
“I appreciate the Government of Turkmenistan’s efforts in sustaining nearly universal rates of vaccination, which is critical for children’s wellbeing and public health,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan. “We are proud that the Government considers UNICEF as a partner of choice in procurement of quality vaccines and vaccine related equipment, and that we have been able to provide the government with continued support despite all the challenges in global delivery of supplies related to the pandemic,” said Ms.Weigand.
Since 2006, the procurement of vaccines and vaccine related supplies is fully financed by the Government, and UNICEF provides all related procurement services. UNICEF ensures that high-quality, low cost WHO-pre-qualified vaccines and safe injection and cold chain equipment are purchased and delivered to the country.
The total spending for vaccines and vaccination related supplies progressively grew since 2006 as the list of vaccines was extended and the related cold chain and logistics systems were upgraded. In 2019, three more vaccines were added to the national immunization plan to prevent pneumococcal disease, rotavirus and Hepatitis A, making the routine immunization calendar in Turkmenistan fully in line with WHO recommendations.
In many countries, immunization services have been disrupted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the achievements in the eradication and elimination of major vaccine preventable diseases like polio and measles. In Turkmenistan, the government and UNICEF have been able to minimize the risk of disruption of routine immunization activities due to the current global pandemic and have ensured that the delivery of vaccines continued even under these difficult circumstances.
Currently Turkmenistan expressed its willingness to participate in the global COVAX facility. COVAX is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries all around the world with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, once they are licensed and approved.
Immunization and children’s health in general will remain one of the key components of the new country programme of cooperation between UNICEF and Turkmenistan for 2021-2025. /// UNICEF Turkmenistan
Briefing and signing ceremony of the Plan on procurement of vaccines – Statement by Ms. Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan
5 October 2020
Your Excellency , Minister of Health and Medical Industry Mr. Nurmuhammet Amannepesov,
Your Exellency, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Myatiyev,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, national partners, representatives of national and international media,
In the absence of Ms. Panova, and as UN Resident Coordinator a.i., let me thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the invitation and opportunity to speak at this briefing.
From the onset of the global pandemic UN Country Team in Turkmenistan has mobilized its resources and technical expertise and working closely with the national government, civil society and private sector to deliver a robust support to Government to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. The UN in Turkmenistan supported the Government to develop the “National plan for preparedness and response to acute infectious diseases” and the “Immediate socio-economic response plan to acute infectious disease pandemic”. The Plans were endorsed by the Government of Turkmenistan at the highest level, and we are working closely with our partners in the implementation of these critical instruments to address the impact of the pandemic.
On behalf of the Resident Coordinator of the UN system here in Turkmenistan, I would like to express my gratitude to the Government, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to all national partners for the strategic cooperation we have. Two important milestones in the partnership will be presented today. First, the approval and signature of new WHO programme funded by the European Union focusing on pandemic prevention. And secondly, the approval and signature of the new 5-year procurement plan for vaccines between the government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF.
Please allow me now to continue my intervention as the Representative of UNICEF and indeed share more information on the immunization programme in Turkmenistan and this new procurement plan.
First of all, I would like to appreciate the Government of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and you personally, Mr. Amannepesov, for ensuring the continuity of the immunization programme in Turkmenistan, as vaccination is critical both for children and for public health. Turkmenistan is a leader in the region and globally on sustaining nearly universal rates of vaccination.
The partnership between Turkmenistan and UNICEF in the area of vaccination started already in 1994 when Turkmenistan signed an agreement to be part of what was called the Vaccine Independence Initiative. Since then, UNICEF and WHO have provided support to the Government of Turkmenistan in polio eradication, training on immunization programme management, safe immunization practices, upgrading of existing cold chain facilities, and development of a computerized monitoring system for vaccine distribution and utilization.
Since 2006, the procurement of vaccines and vaccine related supplies is fully financed by the Government, and UNICEF provides all related procurement services. UNICEF ensures that high-quality, low cost WHO-pre-qualified vaccines and safe injection equipment are purchased and delivered to the country.
The total spending for vaccines and vaccination related supplies progressively grew since 2006 as the list of vaccines was extended and the related cold chain and logistics systems were upgraded. In 2019 three more vaccines have been added to the national immunization plan to prevent pneumococcal disease, rotavirus and Hepatitis A. This means that the routine immunization calendar in Turkmenistan is now fully in line with WHO recommendations.
Today we will sign the new Plan on procurement of vaccines and vaccine related supplies for 2021-2025 with a total amount of over 83 million US dollars. This is the fourth Plan on procurement of vaccines with government funding since 2006 and will allow UNICEF to continue supporting Turkmenistan’s commitment to protect all children in the country against 14 vaccine preventable diseases.
We are proud that the Government considers UNICEF as a partner of choice in procurement of quality vaccines and vaccine related equipment. And we are particularly proud to have been able to provide the government with continued support despite all the challenges in global delivery of supplies related to the pandemic. In many countries, immunization services have been disrupted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the achievements in the eradication and elimination of major vaccine preventable diseases like polio and measles.
In Turkmenistan, the government and UNICEF have been able to minimize the risk of disruption of routine immunization activities due to the current global pandemic and have ensured that the delivery of vaccines was managed in the best possible manner under these difficult circumstances. With the support of the global UNICEF Supply Division as well as government authorities, UNICEF arranged dedicated charter flights to deliver essential vaccines for routine immunization to Turkmenistan in a timely way, preventing stock outs and ensuring availability of lifesaving vaccines.
I would like to also use this opportunity to highlight that the Government of Turkmenistan expressed its willingness to participate in the global so-called “COVAX” facility. COVAX is a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries all around the world with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, once they are licensed and approved. COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio – including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other major producers. UNICEF in collaboration with GAVI, which is the Global Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), is committed to the success of the COVAX facility which can provide the best opportunity for global, fair and equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, which are safe and effective.
I would also like to highlight the support we have been extending in preventing the spread of pandemic in Turkmenistan. UNICEF in partnership with the government and other stakeholders has carried out a series of activities to keep children safe and healthy. These activities are part of the national pandemic prevention and response plan as well as the national plan to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the global crisis.
UNICEF takes the lead in developing and delivering important prevention messages to children and their families through TV spots and animations, as well as our UNICEF Turkmenistan website and social media channels. And we continue to work with the State Committee for TV and Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography to develop and share information which helps families to stay healthy. Together with WHO, we also work with national media to equip them with knowledge and skills to report on the pandemic and the most effective prevention measures.
UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry to ensure uninterrupted supply of vaccines for all children. UNICEF has recently also delivered oxygen concentrators to Turkmenistan to strengthen the capacity of hospitals.
We also support the Ministry of Education in introducing distance and digital education and work with the Ministry to provide special hygiene lessons to schoolchildren.
Finally, our partnerships with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the State Statistics Committee focus on the development of community based social services, the monitoring of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic as well identifying ways to address this impact specifically for vulnerable families and children.
This unprecedented global health, economic, and social crisis requires equally unprecedented solidarity as His Excellency President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted in his recent UN General Assembly statement. By working together, we can ensure COVID-19 does not threaten our children’s health and their social and economic development. I invite the government, the private sector, civil society, media and every one of us to work together to respond, recover and reimagine a world fit for every child.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Government of Turkmenistan and all partners for the long-standing partnership and collaboration for the benefit of all children in Turkmenistan – in the area of child health and beyond. And I look forward to continuing our successful collaboration to support Turkmenistan’s success story on immunization.
Child health and nutrition and early childhood development will remain one of the priority areas of our work in the next five years – in addition to governance for children, social and child protection, and quality and inclusive education. In the new country programme of cooperation with Turkmenistan for 2021-2025, we are also looking forward to exploring new opportunities such as in the area of digitalization, and the promotion of healthy behaviours and good nutrition for children of all ages.
UNICEF’s focus has been and will remain on achieving results together with our partners – real results that help save children’s lives, and allow children and young people to grow up healthy and to fulfil their potential. Sag bolun! /// UNICEF Turkmenistan
Today, on 5th of October 2020, during a press briefing organize by MFA and Ministry of Health and presided by Minister of Health, Mr. Amannepesov, on international cooperation in the field of healthcare, the Ambassador of the European Union to Turkmenistan, Diego Ruiz Alonso, presented the main elements of the EU cooperation with Turkmenistan in relation to the fight against COVID19 pandemic.
Mr. Diego Ruiz Alonso underlined the crucial role of EU as the biggest international donor in dealing with all different world crisis. This role is based in the understanding that the planet is facing new global challenges that require global responses.
Turkmenistan was left out of the first EU response to COVID19 pandemic in CA (121 M€) due to the fact that, according to official data, TKM is into the upper middle income country category and so not eligible for international aid.
However, EUDEL made the case for an extra package, finally delivered by EU, to work with TKM in the fight against COVID19. Based on the requirements of the Turkmen Government contained in the Preparedness and response national plan against infectious diseases and through field cooperation with WHO Country Office in Turkmenistan, the EU action plan will contribute to the exchange of experiences and best practices to fight the pandemic, to the sharing of the latest information and data as a decisive tool to react against this threat, to make people aware of the dangers and effects of the pandemic and to enhance the preparation and capacities of medical personal and the health system in general, which is at the front line in the combat against the virus.
The Ambassador of the European Union to Turkmenistan closed his intervention making a call to think about the main lesson to learn from this pandemic; the need to change our behaviour in relation with our environment. The protection of ecosystems and the biodiversity is the main tool to avoid new pandemics in the future. The EU Green Recovery Initiative is inspired by this principle and propose to build back better taking advantage of this crisis to base our development in a more sustainable foundations that can offer a better future for next generations. The EU hopes to continue the fruitful cooperation with TKM in this initiative too. /// EU in Turkmenistan [report compiled by nCa, 6 October 2020]