Turkmenistan has reformed and developed the field of national healthcare, making it a multipurpose system of social protection. Large-scale work is carried out in Turkmenistan for health protection of people. The national system of health protection, which has reached the level of world standards, progressively develops.

For many years, supervising the national health care, the leader of the nation stood at the origins of the development of the State program “Saglyk”, the consistent implementation of which made it possible to bring the domestic health care system to the level of international standards, significantly expanding the range and quality of medical services provided. The “Saglyk program”, adopted in 1995, was aimed at reforming the industry, taking into account the best international practice of organizing medical services for the population, introducing advanced methods of treatment and prevention of diseases, training highly qualified personnel, and further developing medical science. Among the concrete steps taken under the leadership of the head of state are the reorientation of health care to strengthen preventive work, the adoption of the principles of a healthy lifestyle in the modern Turkmen society, the widespread popularization of physical culture and sports, especially among children and youth.

As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stated in his New Year’s address to the people on December 31, 2020: “A healthy society is a solid foundation of the state. We carry out systematic work to protect people’s health, increase their life expectancy, prevent diseases, and introduce the principles of a healthy lifestyle.”  Under the slogan – “The health of the nation is the wealth of the country”, today the state is taking targeted measures to improve the health care system and modernize the infrastructure of the industry, which helps to elevate the average life expectancy and raise the quality of life of the population.

An electronic document management system has been introduced in medical institutions in Ashgabat and in the administrative centers of the velayats (regions), about two million citizens are provided with electronic medical records. Work continues on establishing telemedicine services, as well as a remote consultation system between health care institutions through teleconferencing. As part of the work to improve the infrastructure of the industry, modern medical centers, equipped with the latest technology, health houses, and pharmaceutical industry facilities are being built throughout the country. In recent years, eight enterprises have been built within the structure of the “Türkmendermansenagat” (Turkmen medicine industry) association, where the production of widespread medicines and pharmaceuticals based on local raw materials has been established. 

Thus, the year 2020 was marked by a joint struggle against a new challenge of our time - the pandemic of a new type of coronavirus, which poses a serious threat to all of humanity. This topic became a key one at the video summit held by the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States under the slogan “Cooperation and solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic” and the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Contact Group format under the slogan “Together against COVID-19’, in which the head of Turkmenistan took part. Turkmenistan holds a leading position in countering the new infectious disease that has changed the way of life of people on the planet.

Taking into account the uneasy situation in the world, under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, comprehensive preventive measures are being implemented to prevent the emergence and spread of coronavirus and other dangerous infections on the territory of Turkmenistan.

In order to get acquainted with the preventive measures carried out in the country, a technical advisory mission of experts from the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization was invited to Turkmenistan. As part of the 10-day visit, WHO representatives visited various outpatient and hospital medical institutions, laboratories in Lebap and Balkan velayats and the city of Ashgabat, visited checkpoints on the border with neighboring countries, in particular, with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, as well as in International seaport of the city of Turkmenbashi. On-site experts got acquainted with the ongoing activities in the field of epidemiological surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, clinical management of patients, preventive measures and infection control.

In particular, already in the beginning of January 2020, according to the instructions of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, restrictions on crossing the state border were gradually introduced, sanitary and quarantine supervision was strengthened. Since March, the movement of aircrafts from foreign countries has been temporarily suspended, restrictions have been introduced on the entry and exit of citizens and various types of land, river and sea transport. According to the decision of the Emergency Anti-Epidemic Commission under the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, a Center was established to prevent and strengthen preventive measures against the import of the pathogen of acute atypical pneumonia of unknown etiology. Similar headquarters working 24/7 have been established at regional levels.

All work in the country is carried out in strict accordance with national legislation, within the framework of the State Program “Saglyk” and the Sanitary Code of Turkmenistan, which is based on the constitutional right of citizens to health protection and epidemic well-being. Together with WHO and other UN structural divisions, the Preparedness and Response Plan of Turkmenistan for Acute Infectious Disease was developed, which was approved on May 22, 2020 by a Resolution of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. All planned activities are being actively implemented with the support of the WHO Country Office and various UN agencies.

At the expense of budgetary funds, the purchase of drugs against infectious diseases, laboratory substances and reagents is regularly carried out. It should be noted that Turkmenistan was awarded a grant from the Global Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases for 2018-2021.

On October 10, 2020, the opening of the International Burn and Aesthetic Centers took place in participation of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

During the construction, functional and staffing provision of the modern burn complex, the best foreign experience and best practices were carefully studied. The center’s specialists made working visits to Germany, Israel, Austria and Turkey to study treatment methods in well-known clinics. The International Burn Center hosts a branch of the State Medical University of Turkmenistan named after Myrat Garryev, on the basis of which professors and teachers of the university will consult patients, consultations and train highly qualified specialists.

It is noteworthy that the foreign specialists that were present at the opening ceremony of the Center highly appraised the specialized clinic equipped with innovative technologies and specializing in modern methods of treatment. This is evidenced by the certificates awarded to the Burn Center and the corresponding marks from the German Burns Association and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The Aesthetic Center has also created the necessary conditions for providing citizens with high-quality cosmetic services in all areas of beauty and aesthetics. Unique equipment from the world’s leading manufacturers allows to cover a wide range of modern professional cosmetology, which contributes to the provision of services that meet international standards and have received clinical confirmation and recognition of effectiveness throughout the world. The structure of the complex includes departments of medical and aesthetic cosmetology, body correction, health improvement, podology and orthonixia. There is also a beauty department, whose task is to provide a full range of demanded cosmetic services, and an educational and training center for training specialists.

It is worthwhile to note that the construction of the Aesthetic Center was entrusted by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to the members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, which clearly indicates the comprehensive support provided by the state to the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses.

The new Center has also received several prestigious international awards - from the Austrian Society of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, the University of Lucerne of the Swiss Confederation and the EmSi Aesthetic Clinics. Simultaneously with the construction of new ones in the country, work is underway to reconstruct and modernize the material and technical base of existing healthcare institutions, in particular, the International Medical Diagnostic Center, the International Center for Internal Diseases, the “Ene Myakhri” (Mother’s Care) International Center of the Directorate of International Medical Centers of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan has established strict control over the quality and safety of food products, and the scale of work on supplying the population with clean drinking water is expanding. The adoption of the National Program on Healthy Nutrition of the Population of Turkmenistan for 2020–2025 became a vivid indicator of that.

A significant role in promotion of health is assigned to the facilities of the sanatorium-resort infrastructure, in particular, balneological, natural and climatic sanatoriums, in which effective work is carried out to prevent and treat diseases with the help of the life-giving power of the native land: mineral waters, therapeutic mud, etc. Comprehensive development of the sanatorium and resort industry, provided for by the State Program “Saglyk”, is one of the main directions of the work being carried out to develop and improve the national health care system.  “Archman” and “Yyly Suw” sanatoriums in Akhal velayat, “Molla Kara” and “Avaza” in the Balkan velayat, Dashoguz sanatorium in the northern region of the country, “Farab” in Lebap, “Bayramali” in Mary velayat and the “Berzengi” sanatorium in Ashgabat - they all form a single infrastructure that today serves the Turkmen people.

On November 6, 2020, the modern sanatorium “Bagabat”, located in the Ak Bugday etrap of the Akhal velayat, was added to this comprehensive list.  The opening ceremony was attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The new health resort, built by members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs near Ashgabat, in the pretty Bagabat valley, is a modern complex designed for the simultaneous reception of 200 people. The health resort includes departments of balneotherapy, water and mud therapy, consultative and diagnostic and physiotherapy, as well as a spa department. Along with the treatment-and-prophylactic center, the highway leading to it and the 25-meter pillar “Saglyk” installed in the center of one of the intersections, embodying the achievements of domestic healthcare and the large-scale work carried out in the country to protect people’s health, and to establish the principles of a healthy lifestyle, were commissioned.

It is noteworthy that the Head of State signed a Resolution, approving the National Program for the Development of the System of Sanatoriums in Turkmenistan for 2021–2025 and the Action Plan for its implementation. This decision was made in order to further develop the system of sanatoriums in the country, to introduce new and effective sanatoriums, medical methodologies, techniques and services that meet international standards.

It is worthwhile to note that the leader of nation dedicated a monograph entitled “Turkmenistan – the land of healing”, which just as other scientific works of the President, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Academician Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov became widely known abroad. The fundamental work of the head of state “Medicinal Plants of Turkmenistan”, translated into many languages ​​of the world, is also very popular among the world audience. The release of the successive, XII volume of the publication, which was presented on October 10 at the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, was a wonderful gift for the Day of Healthcare Workers and the Medical Industry.

As part of the implementation of the National Rural Program, modern health centers and medical complexes are being built in the regions. An example of this was the new infectious diseases treatment hospital in the village of Yzgant of Geoktepe etrap.  President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov took part in its official opening ceremony, which took place on November 13, 2020.

As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stated at the expanded meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on February 12 of this year and dedicated to the results of the past year, “numerous kindergartens are being built in the country, higher educational institutions, healthcare, culture and sports centers equipped with the most modern technology are being opened”. It should be emphasized that every year in Turkmenistan, the mass physical culture and health-improving movement is rapidly taking place.

The systematic measures are taking place in the country on the development of various fields of public health.  In July 2018, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has approved three new programs: For the protection of the mental health of the population for 2018-2022, For the prevention of the harmful effects of alcohol for 2018-2024 and the National Strategy for 2018-2025 to increase the physical activity of the population in Turkmenistan.

In accordance with the requirements of the World Health Organization, a national model for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases has been formed in the country. With the coordination of the information center, explanatory work is regularly carried out among the population, the goals laid down in “the National Program for the Implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2017-2021” are achieved. In addition, the Government of Turkmenistan financed the project “Implementation of the provisions of the Ashgabat Declaration - freeing Europe from tobacco smoke”.