ASHGABAT -- The Turkmen government is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to set up a program called the Health Improvement Program.
Outlining USAID projects in the country, regional director William Frej told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that "maternity and child health is obviously a critical issue in Turkmenistan" and added that "child health care is the most serious issue in this country."
As part of the cooperation program, USAID provides assistance in health, education, training, and economic reform in Turkmenistan.
Although Turkmenistan's main exports include oil, natural gas, and raw cotton, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line is estimated to be 58 percent.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov was the long-time health minister of Turkmenistan before becoming president in 2007.