Among the Central Asian NIS (New Independent States), Uzbekistan has both the highest density and the highest growth rate of population. Reducing the number of children per family and especially lowering birth frequencies was a goal shared by the government, the population as well as by Islamic religious leaders. All issues of family planning, of mother-and-child care and of the fight against sexually transmittable diseases (STD) were concentrated in the hands of the public health administration. The public health network of medical facilities reached well down to the village level, but there was a lack of appropriate concepts and of specially trained staff for these issues. Thus, women received medical diagnosis and treatment, but hardly any adequate advice. The frequency of abortions reclined, but contraceptive techniques were dominated by intra-uterine devices (IUD), whereas other methods were scarcely offered. Demand for condoms remained largely uncovered. Another problem consisted in the gaps in the supply of essential drugs and spare parts for medical devices in the obstetrical sector, caused by the disruption of former trade links and by the shortage of foreign currency.
The project objective was to develop a concept to improve the range of available drugs for mother and child, of contraceptives for family planning and prevention for STD (including AIDS) on offer in public health facilities, as well as upgrading medical equipment for obstetrics and gynaecology. Two experts elaborated a project concept which was accepted by the Uzbek partners. They prepared the subsequent "Consulting Services for Sector Related Programme Health and Family Planning" (also implemented by EPOS). The project concept foresaw the supply of contraceptives (in a mix allowing adequate selection), drugs, biotechnological equipment and spare parts for public health facilities in particularly disadvantaged regions (near lake Aral, near the Afghan border and in parts of the Fergana valley) over a period of three years (until 1998).