New Award Will Improve Health and Nutrition in Tajikistan

Through a new $13 million award from the US Agency for International Development, IntraHealth International will improve health and nutrition in Tajikistan, particularly for women and children in the Khatlon oblast, an administrative region.

The five-year project—Feed the Future Tajikistan Health and Nutrition Program—led by IntraHealth will integrate high-quality maternal, newborn, and child health care at the family, community, clinical, and national levels, with an emphasis on nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene. IntraHealth’s partners include Abt Associates and Mercy Corps. This project seeks to synergize and strengthen outcomes of the Scaling Up Nutrition movement (a collective country-led effort to improve nutrition), sustainable agriculture, and household food security.

Tajikistan is the poorest of the five Central Asian republics. Almost half the population is living below the national poverty line and one-third is affected by food insecurity. 

The remote Khatlon oblast is the most populous and has some of the country’s poorest nutrition and maternal and child health statistics in tandem with a suboptimal agriculture sector. The region has the highest under-five mortality rate in the country (61 per 1,000 live births), twice as high as in the capital, Dushanbe. Twenty-seven percent of children in the region are stunted.  

With increased economic growth in recent years, the Government of Tajikistan has resourced poverty reduction efforts that align with multilateral and donor support, including the US Government’s Feed the Future initiative to address global hunger and food insecurity. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population set national goals to reduce the total morbidity rate by 30 percent, with specific targets for women and children. 

To achieve results, IntraHealth and partners will apply the following technical strategies:

  • Promote the use of evidence-based maternal, neonatal, and child health practices in the first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday within the home, community, and health facility
  • Improve healthy behaviors and practices among adolescent girls, women, and children in their homes and communities related to consumption of nutrients-rich food, improved sanitation and hygiene, and increased use of appropriate health care services
  • Strengthen links among health facilities, communities, and Feed The Future initiatives 
  • Incorporate gender-equitable and culturally sensitive approaches that empower women to improve their health and the health of their children 
  • Leverage stakeholder partnerships across the health, education, and agriculture sectors; with donors; and through public–private partnerships
  • Support key policy changes to institutionalize reforms related to health and national food security.

IntraHealth will provide overall program leadership with activities at the national and policy level. Abt Associates will develop and implement maternal and child health clinical standards and conduct health workforce training to improve quality of service delivery. Mercy Corps will implement facility- and community-level activities on child health and the promotion of positive health and nutrition behaviors.