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Health literacy in Turkmenistan

December 06, 2017

Over the past two decades, there has been a steady government support for health improvement support for health improvement and steady financial commitment to the health system in Turkmenistan. Furthermore, Turkmenistan has adopted strong tobacco-control laws, a national nutrition programme and other health promoting policies and strategies in recent years. The National Health 2020 Plan approved by presidential decree in 2014 have proposed health reforms and benefited from widespread support across all government ministries (World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2016a). The National Health 2020 Action plan builds on the Ashgabat Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in the context of Health 2020 endorsed by Member States of the WHO European Region (WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2013).  Recent efforts to increase population health literacy and empower individuals with health information are helping to build a more participatory approach to health services delivery. For instance, a well-organised public communication plan combined with the provision of patient education has helped improve the population health literacy and garner support for the initiatives on the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2016a).


Saglyk is a public resource in the form of a website that helps the Turkmen public to take control of their and their families’health by providing up-to-date, credible public health information, responding to questions, and creating a forum for the exchange of ideas and information in the Turkmen language. Saglyk means ‘health’ in Turkmen and the website is called The aim is to make high-quality materials freely available to the Turkmen public and provide a safe public space to share and discuss health issues. The initiative improves the health literacy in Turkmenistan by offering the opportunity to access credible public health information and participate in a constructive dialogue on important societal issues (Saglyk, 2013).

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