A healthcare professional examines a newborn beside a young mother, both surrounded by traditional mattresses and cushions. © GIZ

Supporting female health workers in Central Asia

Improving mother-child health in Central Asia

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Lead executing agency

    More

  • Overall term

    2024 to 2025

  • Products and expertise

    Social development

Context

In Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, women make up 70 per cent of health workers, but only 25 per cent of them occupy management positions. Gender discrimination and patriarchal traditions often hinder women’s career advancement. In addition, the gender pay gap in health services in Central Asia is higher than the global average. For instance, women in Tajikistan receive 60 per cent of men’s wages, 61 per cent in Uzbekistan, and 75 per cent in Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, fostering women’s leadership in healthcare and ensuring respectful health services for pregnant women, mothers, and newborns is crucial. A greater involvement of women in decision-making and management of health and maternity care will improve the quality of health and maternity care and reduce the maternal mortality rate., which is increasing since 2020.

Objective

The quality of women-centred health services in primary care is improved for pregnant women, mothers, and their newborns in Central Asia.

Approach

The project implements several key activities to tackle the challenges and achieve its objectives:

  • It develops leadership and management skills for female health workers by conducting regional leadership training and a mentoring programme for female junior staff, helping them advance to management positions.
  • The project builds professional competencies of healthcare workers at primary level in providing maternity care focused on women. This is done through regional trainings and promoting professional exchange between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It creates a practice-based community (Community of Practice, CoP) for joint learning and everyday practice.
  • The project adapts the internationally recognised mobile application Safe Delivery to national contexts, enhancing the skills of female healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas, to improve healthcare services for mothers and newborns in the three Central Asian countries. The app serves as an important self-learning tool, supporting female professionals in their daily work.

Last update: May 2024