Thirty-three children have died in Turkmenistan due to the flu epidemic, and the majority of those children had congenital heart and respiratory diseases, according to a report by the Chronicle of Turkmenistan news portal. Children aged five to seven made up the majority of cases. The flu crisis has since abated, but only after hospitals experienced overcrowding when the pandemic was at its peak and a ban came into force against placing patients from Etrap (the territorial unit of Turkmenistan) in city hospitals. In the intensive care and therapy departments of hospitals, plastic-lined departments were installed where patients with influenza were treated. The epidemic had exposed a shortage of medications and medical supplies, according to comments made by the leaders of various medical facilities. Thanks to Uzbekistan's assistance, which included a large shipment of medications, this shortage was addressed. Officials mandated the equipping of one or two rooms with state-of-the-art resuscitation equipment in each hospital department. Ashgabat and the surrounding areas saw a high incidence of influenza in December and the beginning of January 2024. Many patients were sent home for treatment, because the capital’s hospitals were overcrowded. The majority of home remedies, however, appear to have increased infection rates.
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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) convened for its 87th session in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 29th, and Turkmen delegates once again made the journey to take part. Myakhri Byashimova, Turkmenistan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, headed the delegation. The gathering covered the country's 6th intermittent report on its fulfillment of the Convention on the Elimination of All Types of Discrimination Against Women, according to the press office of Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Turkmen delegation provided data on improvements that took place between 2018 and 2023 in the spheres of legislative issues, economy, regulation, and society and culture. The CEDAW’s current working session will run until February 16th. The United Nations General Assembly ratified the international convention known as CEDAW in 1979, requiring member nations to fight all forms of discrimination against women. CEDAW comprises one of the eight principal United Nations human rights conventions. Its mission is to underline that women's rights are tantamount to human rights overall.
On January 27th Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the chairman of the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan, met with the managing director of the German consulting company Goetzpartners Emerging Markets GmbH, Vladimir Mathias. Goetzpartners won an international tender to consult on the creation of a medical cluster in the Turkmen city of Arkadag, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry has reported. Germany is one of Turkmenistan’s key European partners. Several German companies are involved in large-scale projects in the fields of transport, communications and logistics in the country. At the meeting Mr Mathias explained to Mr Berdimuhamedov that the planned medical cluster in Arkadag is designed to produce various types of medical products not only for the domestic market, but also for export. The city of Arkadag was unveiled on June 29th, 2023. The “smart” city, designed to be home for 70,000 people and costing billions of dollars to construct, is located 30km south of the capital, Ashgabat.
A regular meeting of the National Commission for UNESCO was held in the capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. It was chaired by foreign minister Rashid Meredov. The meeting was attended by high-ranking representatives of the government and heads of key Turkmen agencies and ministries. Last year four documents were signed between Turkmenistan and UNESCO. This made it possible to take active measures to preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the Turkmen people. One of the main topics for discussion at this meeting was efforts to include Turkmenistan's national values in the UNESCO World Heritage Lists. During the past year, three objects of Turkmen culture were added to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Another important step for Turkmenistan is the inclusion of a collection of manuscripts by Makhtumkuli Fraghi in the UNESCO International Memory of the World List. UNESCO’s list of commemorative dates for 2024-2025 includes the 300th anniversary of the birth of this important figure in Turkmen literature.
In a demonstration of communal commitment to the environment, over 100 citizens of Turkmenistan engaged in a clean-up initiative organized by the Malaysian oil and gas giant, Petronas. The event on Kiyanly beach, aimed at stimulating environmentally responsible behaviour, saw participants cleanse the shoreline of litter. Petronas regularly stages such events as part of its broader environmental policy, with employees of the company and citizens coming together, fostering a sense of shared responsibility. It is hoped that such initiatives can become a catalyst for lasting change.
A presentation of the first book by President of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, entitled “Youth is the support of the Motherland,” took place on January 6th at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chairman of the Central Council of the Youth Organization of Turkmenistan, Yazpolat Keriev, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashid Meredov, delivered speeches at the event. As was emphasized in the speeches, as part of the national youth policy of the President, the necessary opportunities and conditions are being created for the fruition of a worthy generation based on traditions inherited from their ancestors, and comprehensive support is being provided to the youth, who represent the future of the country. It was also stated that the literary work of the head of state, dedicated to the activities and achievements of Turkmen youth in socioeconomic, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres, is intended to become a reference book for the current and future generation of young Turkmen citizens, the Foreign Ministry reported. At the same time, special emphasis was placed on the implementation of the “Strategy for International Youth Cooperation for 2023-2030,” which aims to contribute to the active involvement of Turkmen youth in international events. From the first years of Turkmenistan's independence, each of the country's leaders has published books they claimed as coming from their pen. The father of the current president, former President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is the most prolific author. Since coming to power in 2007, a government portal claims that the “esteemed” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov senior has written over 60 books, including a novel about his father. During the reign of the Berdimuhamedovs, the books of the first President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, were removed from educational curricula and state propaganda, Radio Azadliq reported.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="13432" img_size="full" el_class="scond-image" parallax_scroll="no" woodmart_inline="no"][vc_column_text woodmart_inline="no" text_larger="no"]Winning the Presidential election of 1992 unopposed, Niyazov declared himself “Turkmenbashi,” meaning Father of the Turkmen. Eager to foster a cult of personality despite his reclusive nature, statues of Niyazov began to sprout across the country. Atop a rocket-shaped monument called the Arch of Neutrality, his twelve-meter-tall golden likeness rotated to face the sun, or as a Turkmen saying had it, the sun revolved to face him. “My countrymen worshiped Lenin, then Stalin,” Niyazov ruminated at the time. “Now it’ll either be Allah or myself. It had better be me.” Despite 58% of his people living below the poverty line, by the time of Niyazov’s death there were 10,000 new statues in Turkmenistan, largely of him and his family. Now, dumped in the outskirts, the Arch of Neutrality stands with the lift upon its marble frame long since out of commission and its ticket booth closed.