Turkmenistan marked the International Children’s Day on 1 June 2021. — It was a day full of high profile events, carefully planned to underline the message that the children are joint responsibility of the family, the society, and the state.
President Berdimuhamedov spent quite some time at the Scientific and Clinical Centre for the Mother and Child in Ashgabat a medical establishment that is geared to offer state-of-the-art treatment and rehabilitation services.
He was accompanied by Ms. Christine Weigand, the head of UNICEF in Turkmenistan and the acting Resident Coordinator of the UN in Turkmenistan.
The hospital, established in 2015, has some three dozen departments including medical and diagnostics, physiology and pathology of newborns, anesthesiology and resuscitation, allergology and pulmonology, pathology and surgery of children under 1 year old, pediatric urology and gynecology, general surgery, traumatology, orthopedics, etc.
The president visited several departments and interacted with the children undergoing treatment and their mothers.
Because of the knack of Berdimuhamedov to connect instantly with the very young, it was not just a visit of a president to a hospital – it was essentially the visit of a caring elder to the beloved children.
One of the toddlers said her very first word on seeing the president. She said “Baba,” which means grandfather.
After the tour of the hospital the president had a meeting with the healthcare and medical professionals.
Here are the relevant parts from the TDH report:
Speaking about the fact that this date is of great importance in the life of society, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that last year the “Program for improving the activities of preschool institutions in the field of early development and improving the preparation of a child for school in Turkmenistan for 2020-2025” was adopted.
Also, with a view to state support for large families in the future, it is planned to develop appropriate legal acts, which indicates that the activities carried out in this area are aimed at building a happy life for children who are our pride.
Re-emphasizing that maternal and child health is one of the key areas of state policy, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov pointed out the advisability of preparing the National Strategy “Healthy Mom – Healthy Child – Healthy Future” and the Action Plan for its implementation. The implementation of this Strategy using a digital system and constant monitoring of its implementation should become one of the main tasks, the leader of the nation said.
The head of state noted that the necessary work is being carried out in the country to constantly provide the child’s health care system with specialists that meet international requirements with medicines and health protection products, and to strengthen the material and technical base of health care.
Among the priorities in this area are the creation of comprehensively equal opportunities and conditions for the protection of children’s health at all stages of life, as well as the provision of high-quality and affordable medical services based on digital and innovative technologies, advanced medical science and experience.
In the future, the leader of the nation said, we must continue to vaccinate children, including 9-year-old boys and girls, against the human papillomavirus. To assess the results of preventive vaccination, it is necessary to provide medical institutions with the necessary software and computer technologies, to improve the work on caring for children and babies in accordance with international standards.
In addition, on the basis of world experience, steps will be taken to improve the “medical literacy” of children and adolescents, their awareness of their health.
One of the most important tasks facing healthcare workers is to conduct scientific research jointly with international organizations, leading clinics of the world, including medical scientists from the Federal Republic of Germany, to identify acute manifestations of diabetes mellitus, congenital deafness, diseases of the eyes, nasopharynx, musculoskeletal system, circulatory system and prevention of childhood obesity. In this direction, with the participation of foreign specialists, it is necessary to carry out planned work on the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of diseases, the head of state said.
As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted further, in accordance with the “National Strategy of Turkmenistan for Early Child Development for 2020-2025”, the activities to provide young children with high-quality medical services, healthy nutrition, and preschool education are successfully continuing.
Particular attention is paid to the development of comprehensive cooperation with other states of the world, major international and regional organizations. The most important areas of this partnership are the protection of the health of young citizens, their education and upbringing on the basis of moral and democratic norms of mankind, the protection of the interests and rights of women and children.
In this context, we strive to join efforts with the United Nations Children’s Fund, the head of state said. Joining the Universal Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Hague Convention on the International Civil Aspects of Child Abduction confirms the responsible approach of Turkmenistan to fulfill its obligations.
In partnership with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, joint seminars and meetings are held in our country, effective results have been obtained in the field of salt fortification with iodine, flour with iron and folic acid. The election of Turkmenistan to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children’s Fund for 2018-2020 and the Commission on the Status of Women for 2018-2022 demonstrates the success of cooperation with the United Nations.
And in the future, in the framework of interaction with the Children’s Fund, the Population Fund and the UN World Health Organization, we will implement an integrated approach to protecting the health of mothers and children, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.
In order to ensure social security of the younger generation, support children left without parental care, a Charitable Foundation has been created to provide assistance to such children, including those with disabilities.
Then the floor was given to the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in our country, Mrs. Christine Weigand, who expressed her gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the opportunity to take part in the important event on the occasion of the International Children’s Day and celebrate this holiday together with the kids in Scientific -clinical center for maternal and child health.
It was emphasized that one of the main rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is their right to health. Child health and well-being is the main focus of UNICEF’s work in Turkmenistan, in close collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Health and Medical Industry.
Speaking about the successes achieved in Turkmenistan, Ms. Christine Weigand highlighted the activities of the Scientific and Clinical Center for Maternal and Child Health, including the early development and early rehabilitation of children.
In short, the issue of early child development is one of the most important in the 21st century, which is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the implementation of which Turkmenistan participates. In part, this Agenda is designed to help children with disabilities. Since 2011, UNICEF has been supporting Turkmenistan to create a new early rehabilitation system. In 2015, on the basis of this Center, a department of primary early rehabilitation was created.
Turkmenistan, the head of the UNICEF office emphasized, is among the leaders carrying out significant work in this direction. And systematically continues to create a system of assistance at an early stage of child development, as well as digitalize monitoring of child development (GMCD).
I would like to note, said Ms. Christine Weigand, that the institutions of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan are making every effort to improve the neonatal examination system and help children with hearing impairments. Designed to help identify developmental delays at an early stage and take preventive action quickly, this program will become a priority.
Work in this direction is, of course, part of the National Strategy for Early Childhood Development for 2020-2025, approved by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the end of 2019, which aims to ensure equal access to basic quality services in health, nutrition, protection and early learning, meeting their development needs.
The training of highly qualified specialists based on international best practices and standards is a key vector of this Strategy, which is the goal of UNICEF’s joint work with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry. UNICEF is ready to fully support the creation of a national team of specialists, including pediatricians, physiotherapists, speech therapists and psychologists, said the representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The National Early Childhood Development Strategy emphasizes the important role of parents, guardians and families in participating in a child’s life from the moment they are born, and encourages them to take care of their children. UNICEF works closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, the Ministry of Education, the State Committee on Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography, the Union of Women and the Media to provide mothers and fathers with the latest knowledge about parenting.
In addition to the opportunities that digitalization opens up for this area of work, said Ms Christine Weigand, we are ready to further expand this support by introducing innovative tools such as digital applications to quickly and efficiently provide useful information and resources to parents and caregivers.
Turning to the field of child health more broadly, it should be noted that the new Strategy for Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health, which is currently under development, will be an important milestone as it will serve as a guide for all relevant professionals. to focus on achieving the health SDGs for Turkmenistan by 2030.
As it was announced, UNICEF is ready to further assist the work of the Government and the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan to introduce international standards and best practices and improve the quality of services, increase the potential of medical personnel at all levels, including highly qualified specialized workers.
“We intend to continue to work together to improve the health system and scale up the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) approach,” said Ms Christine Weigand. – And finally, which is very important for children’s health, I would like to highlight the extremely successful cooperation between the Government of Turkmenistan and UNICEF over the past 12 years in the field of immunization.
Fully funded domestically, the procurement of vaccines and universal immunization coverage in Turkmenistan is another example of the Government’s continued efforts to prioritize child health, the head of UNICEF said.
Ms. Christine Weigand also noted that in the field of baby food, UNICEF welcomed the adoption by Turkmenistan in early 2020 of the National Program on Healthy Nutrition for the Population for 2020-2025, which is very important for the optimal development of children.
At the same time, it was emphasized that the progress of Turkmenistan in the field of exclusive breastfeeding is the highest in the region.
UNICEF supports Turkmenistan’s efforts to ensure the development of nutritional management and food systems in 8 countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus through a platform for nutrition and cooperation in the Central Asia and Caucasus region, Ms. Christine Weigand said further.
Having once again emphasized the importance of the UN Convention governing the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children, the head of the Children’s Fund’s office noted with satisfaction that, within the framework of the new five-year Program, UNICEF’s cooperation with Turkmenistan in the field of education has significantly expanded. This Program will include many key areas of work, such as the quality of education, as well as digital and distance education.
“The area that I would like to highlight here,” said Ms. Christine Weigand, “is the joint work of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education on environmental education, which began several years ago. We developed curriculum and manuals on climate change, environment and energy, and trained teachers in interactive teaching methods, making Turkmenistan a leader in teaching children about environmental protection.
“We look forward to using this experience and jointly developing and implementing the concept of a “green school” to support the Government’s efforts to ensure the protection of the environment and a sustainable future,” said the head of the UNICEF office.
It was also noted that the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Rights of the Child in Turkmenistan for 2018-2022 remains a key document for the work of all national partners, as well as UNICEF.
“Here I would like to quote the Turkmen proverb “Honey is sweet, and a child is sweeter than honey,” said Ms. Christine Weigand. Thanking President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the constant support of important joint work, the head of the UNICEF office in our country confirmed her readiness for further fruitful cooperation with Turkmenistan.
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UNICEF partners with the National TV to mark the International Child Protection Day 2021 in Turkmenistan
1 June 2021 – The National TV Channels “Yashlyk” and “Turkmenistan” mark International Child Protection Day with two prime time TV shows, raising awareness on child rights and continuing the tradition of hearing the voices of children. This year UNICEF also activated digital communication channels to respect the epidemiological protection while marking this milestone event across the Country.
In the first show children interviewed UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Christine Weigand, and Ombudsperson of Turkmenistan Yazdursun Gurbannazarova, enquiring about the importance of this day and about the rights of children in their country and abroad.
During the show, young interviewers Merdan Chyryev and Sofiya Orazova got a chance to represent their peers and allow the TV audience to widen their knowledge. UNICEF and Ombudsperson talked about their work, as well as about the important aspects concerning children’s lives. This year for UNICEF is especially significant as the organization marks 75 years of its existence.
“UNICEF works for children around the world and in Turkmenistan, to make sure they get what is best for them and what allows them to develop to their full potential. We believe that every child has the right to grow up in a safe environment, and to feel respected and protected,” answered Christine Weigand to one of the young interviewers Merdan on the work of UNICEF in Turkmenistan.
This media opportunity highlighted the importance of the work of Ombudsperson in the area of child rights, specifically in the International Year of Peace and Trust. The organizers hope that many children in Turkmenistan will be interested to watch this special TV show, in which children took over the leading role, as a part of the big 1 June celebration.
The second TV show was conducted at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. During the show UNICEF Representative Christine Weigand and Deputy Rector of the Institute Gulshat Geldiyeva discussed the issues of child rights, UNICEF’s 75th anniversary and future plans of cooperation. Since this year 1 June happens within the global pandemic, participants of the show also talked about UNICEF’s work on addressing the “infodemic” accompanying the health crisis and how this issue affects children in particular.
“On this International Child Protection Day, I would like to congratulate all children and their families. I hope the strong partnership we have with the Government of Turkmenistan will continue and grow, contributing to the wellbeing of all children and youth in Turkmenistan,” said UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Christine Weigand in the TV show. [UNICEF Turkmenistan press release]
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UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Christine Weigand: “A better world for children here and everywhere”
Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan, gave an interview to the Turkmenportal correspondent on the occasion of the International Children’s Day celebrated today .
– First of all, I would like to congratulate all children and families of Turkmenistan on an important holiday – International Children’s Day, which has been celebrated on June 1 since 1950. And since then, this holiday has provided an opportunity to honor children and defend their rights.
Children’s rights are defined in the “Convention on the Rights of the Child”, adopted 32 years ago by the world community to ensure the care and protection of children, regardless of who they are and where they live. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is, of course, inextricably linked to UNICEF’s work for children around the world.
UNICEF’s work for children over three quarters of a century has helped make significant progress in the lives of children around the world, including important vaccinations and nutritional efforts. The challenging times we live in underscore the importance of health and well-being for children and require us to reaffirm our mission to work for the benefit of all children and youth around the world.
UNICEF remains the world’s foremost guardian of children’s rights, bringing together the goodwill and support of all stakeholders to support the survival, protection and development of children and youth. We look forward to continuing and further expanding our joint work here in Turkmenistan for the benefit of children and youth.
Turkmenistan ratified the “Convention on the Rights of Children” almost immediately after gaining independence – in 1994.
And this year, when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Independence of Turkmenistan, we are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of UNICEF. These are important dates and milestones, and celebrating them together also allows us to continue our work together.
We recognize the numerous achievements of Turkmenistan over the years of our cooperation – for example, in the field of child health, in the implementation of programs for early child development, as well as the transition to 12-year compulsory education.
Building on many of the achievements of the past, our work in 2021 reflects the expanded scope of cooperation between UNICEF and the Government of Turkmenistan. In our new five-year cooperation program with Turkmenistan, which we launched this year, UNICEF is working with a wide range of institutions across the country to ensure equal access to high-quality, high-quality health, nutrition and early childhood development services; protect children from all forms of violence, abuse and socio-economic vulnerability; and expand access to quality inclusive education and learning opportunities for children and youth in Turkmenistan. These are key areas for further improving the lives of all children in line with Turkmenistan’s commitment to the SDGs and children’s rights.
Today, on the International Children’s Day, let me once again congratulate everyone on this event and thank the Government of Turkmenistan for the strong partnership. I look forward to continuing this fruitful collaboration for the benefit of all children and youth in Turkmenistan. Let’s continue our work together to reimagine a better world for children here and everywhere. [Turkmen Portal, 1 Jun]
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A number of events were held in Turkmenistan for the International Children’s Day
On the occasion of the International Children’s Day, the capital and regions of Turkmenistan hosted bright thematic events organized by public organizations, city departments of education, and representatives of the public.
Park “Ashgabat” (“first park”) of the capital of Turkmenistan has become a venue for interesting events and tournaments for schoolchildren and preschoolers. Free ice cream for children in this metropolitan park has already become a good tradition.
Today’s events were attended by the stars loved by the younger generation. One of them was the presenter, musician, blogger Myrat Mollaev. Youtuber, with the support of his team, today became a clown for young Ashgabat residents; he played comic numbers and took pictures with those who wished.
A thematic competition was held for the little guests of the celebration by a specialized chess and ball school.
Pupils of Ashgabat art schools today were able to practice in the fine arts right in the park
Festive events were also held in other cultural and recreational institutions of the capital of Turkmenistan. Cinema and concert halls, the State Circus, theaters, museums have prepared a special entertainment program for the International Children’s Day. [Arzuw News, 1 Jun]
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Ms.Christine Weigand – UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan
Christine Weigand is Representative for UNICEF in Turkmenistan. Previously, she served as UNICEF Deputy Representative in Iran providing overall leadership in developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the UNICEF country programme in close collaboration with government partners.
Ms. Weigand joined UNICEF in January 2012 as Chief Social Policy and Evaluation in Antananarivo, Madagascar. She was responsible for the technical leadership in the design and implementation of social policy, advocacy and research programmes and private sector partnerships.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Ms. Weigand worked as Sector Economist for Social Protection and Project Manager with the KfW Entwicklungsbank, the German development bank, based in Frankfurt, Germany, between 2008 and 2011. In this capacity, she provided technical advice on social protection to all levels of German financial and technical cooperation, liaising with the Ministry of Economic and Development Cooperation, as well as Members of Parliament. She was responsible for the management of projects totaling about 50 Million EUR in education, HIV/AIDS and social protection in Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
Between 2001 and 2008, Ms. Weigand worked with the World Bank, based in Washington, DC, USA, in the area of poverty reduction and social protection. She was part of the global expert team on social protection and provided technical support on social safety net programmes and public expenditure reviews of the social sectors.
Ms. Weigand, a national of Austria, holds a Master’s degree in International Economic Studies from Maastricht University, in Maastricht, The Netherlands. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and German. [UNICEF Turkmenistan]
/// Report compiled by nCa, 2 June 2021