Family Planning in the Republic of Tajikistan: A narrative review from Soviet times to 2017

Main Article Content

Ellison Henry
Zarrina H. Juraqulova


Introduction: Tajikistan’s dramatic shift from a high to a low fertility society has taken place over a little more than two decades. While some fertility beliefs remained the same throughout the rapid economic and political transitions of Tajikistan, other beliefs may have changed to respond to the financial realities of the newly independent and Central Asian republic, such as having fewer children. The objective of this review was to describe and analyze the state of family planning in the Republic of Tajikistan from Soviet period (1929-1991) until 2017.

Methods: The review is based on materials obtained from various sources including Google Scholar and PubMed, relevant to family planning in Tajikistan, including government policies, open-access nationally representative data, journal articles, and program reports, identified through a selective search of Google Scholar and PubMed databases, and the grey literature. 

Conclusion: This narrative review presents the history of family planning in Tajikistan, outlines an understanding of the health system context as it relates to family planning, and analyzes the latest national family planning policy (2017). The authors suggest further research is required to (a) understand the beliefs and practices related to family planning; and (b) define strategies to address the issue of unmet need of family planning services. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Henry, E., & Juraqulova, Z. H. (2020). Family Planning in the Republic of Tajikistan: A narrative review from Soviet times to 2017. Central Asian Journal of Global Health, 9(1).


Harris C. Muslim Views on Population: The Case of Tajikistan. In: Islam in the Era of Globalization: Muslim Attitudes towards Modernity and Identity. RoutledgeCurzon, London, pp.211-222; 2002.

Anderson BA, Silver BD. Demographic sources of the changing ethnic composition of the Soviet Union. Population and Development Review. 1989 Dec.;15(4):609-656. doi: 10.2307/1972593

Popov AA. Family planning and induced abortion in the USSR: basic health and demographic characteristics. Studies in Family Planning. 1991 Dec.;22(6):368-377. doi:10.2307/1966450

Popov AA. Family planning in the USSR. Sky-high abortion rates reflect dire lack of choice. Entre Nous Cph Den. 1990;(16):5-7. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Taniguchi H. The agenda for family planning in the USSR. Integration. 1991;(29):2-3. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Khodjamurodov G, Rechel B. Tajikistan: Health System Review. World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe. 2010;(12). Accessed July 18, 2020

Turner R. Tajiks have the Highest Fertility Rates in Newly Independent Central Asia Family Planning Perspectives. 1993 May - Jun.;25(3):141-142. doi: 10.2307/2136166

Habibov N, Zainiddinov H. Do family planning messages improve antenatal care utilization? Evidence from Tajikistan. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare. 2017 Oct.;(13):29-34. doi:10.1016/j.srhc.2017.05.005

Falkingham J. Inequality and changes in women’s use of maternal health-care services in Tajikistan. Studies in Family Planning. 2003;34(1):32-43. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4465.2003.00032.x

Merali S. The relationship between contraceptive use and maternal and infant health outcomes in Tajikistan. Contraception. 2016 March;93(3):216-221. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2015.11.009

Haarr RN. Wife Abuse in Tajikistan. Feminist Criminology. 2007 July;2(3):245-270. doi:10.1177/1557085107302869

Sokolova R. Special: Constructing Female Identity in Modern Tajikistan. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Roche S. A sound family for a healthy nation: motherhood in Tajik national politics and society. Nationalities Papers. 2016 March;44(2):207-224. doi:10.1080/00905992.2015.1087486

Falkingham J. Women and Gender Relations in Tajikistan: Country Briefing Paper. 2000. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Dodkhudoeva L. Everday Life of Tajik Women. Some Considerations.; Codrul Cosminului”, XIX, 2013;2:399-406. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Tajikistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012. Dushanbe, Tajikistan: SA/Tajikistan, MOH/Tajikistan, and ICF International. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Tajikistan Demographic and Health Survey 2017. Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: Statistical Agency under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan/SA, Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan/MOHSP, and ICF. Accessed July 18, 2020

Juraqulova ZH, Henry E. Women’s bargaining power and contraception use in post-Soviet Tajikistan. Central Asian Survey. 2020. Forthcoming.

Clifford D, Falkingham J, Hinde A.Through civil war, food crisis and drought: trends in fertility and nuptiality in post-Soviet Tajikistan. Eur J Popul. 2010 Feb.;26:325-350. doi:10.1007/s10680-010-9206-x

Clifford DM. Marriage and fertility change in post-Soviet Tajikistan. Doctoral Dissertation. 2009. Accessed July 18, 2020

Tajikistan | UN Women – Europe and Central Asia. Accessed July 18, 2020.

WHO | Unmet need for family planning. WHO. 2016. Accessed July 18, 2020.

National Health Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan 2010-2020. Dushanbe; 2010. Accessed July 18, 2020

Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning for the Period 2017-2020. Dushanbe; 2017. Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan/In-print

Tajikistan. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Rechel B, Richardson E, Mckee M. Trends in health systems in the former Soviet countries. European Journal of Public Health. 2014 Oct.;24(2). doi:10.1093/eurpub/cku162.088

Falkingham J. Poverty, out-of-pocket payments and access to health care: evidence from Tajikistan. Social Science and Medicine. 2004 Jan.;58(2):247-258. doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(03)00008-X

TAJIKISTAN 2018 The United Nations Population Fund. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Dushanbe T. Tajikistan’s national family planning stakeholders meeting: summary report, key highlights, and recommendations. 2014. Accessed July 18, 2020.