USAID and UNICEF join hands to scale up continuum of maternal and child nutrition care for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, young children and children with severe wasting in Tajikistan.

UNICEF Tajikistan notes that despite the steady progress in growing the economy and reducing poverty, malnutrition remains a critical public health concern in Tajikistan, in all its forms, and in all segments of society.  Stunting and wasting persists, while overweight and obesity rapidly increases.  Levels of vitamins and mineral deficiencies are stagnating.  When vulnerable children and women are malnourished during the critical moments in life, such as pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life, not only is their health and well-being at stake, but also that of the next generation, compromising the nation.

To address these issues and support the Government of Tajikistan in tackling the triple burden of malnutrition, UNICEF on February 18 launched a three-year program (2023-2025) on scaling up maternal and child nutrition services and care for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children under five years, caregivers and family members of pregnant women and young children in Dushanbe and Khatlon province with financial contribution from USAID.

“It’s only through partnership that we can support the Government of Tajikistan in upholding children’s right to nutrition and ending all forms of malnutrition in the country.  We are deeply grateful to the Government of the United States for joining our effort and stepping up to support us spearhead the traditionally underfunded area for important element of children’s right to adequate nutrition,” said Osama Makkawi Khogali, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan.

“Globally almost half of deaths for children under five years of age are attributed to malnutrition, and those children who survive malnutrition have compromised cognitive and physical development. USAID is proud to partner with UNICEF in Tajikistan to improve nutrition of Tajiks, especially early in life when it matters most,” said USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman.

The program reportedly aims to improve availability and quality of high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition in children and pregnant and lactating women with strong emphasis on primary healthcare.  Additionally, it will promote social, and behavior change through innovative advocacy and communication interventions to improve maternal and child nutrition.

In the next three years, thanks to generous support from USAID, UNICEF -- in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population and other key partners -- aims to reach 270,000 children under five years and 240,000 pregnant and lactating women with nutrition services and care through various platforms.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a lead actor driving development results.  Since Tajikistan’s independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, USAID has focused on strengthening Tajikistan’s ability to plan, finance and implement its own development solutions.  Together with the regional USAID mission to Central Asia, USAID/Tajikistan works to increase connectivity between the peoples of South and Central Asia to foster greater regional stability and prosperity.

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything it does.  Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  Since 1993, UNICEF’s Office in Tajikistan has been working with civil society organizations to help the Government fulfill its obligation to empower children to fully claim and enjoy their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.