Humanitarian Health Action

WHO, Russia support Kyrgyzstan emergency and mental health services

3 November, 2010 ¦ Geneva -- Continued health challenges in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan require further attention, particularly in delivering emergency health services and supporting mental health care. As part of the World Health Organization's commitment to Kyrgyzstan, a new series of emergency health projects are being rolled out to help provide healthcare for the country's people.

In June 2010, civil conflict affected approximately 400 000 people in the country's south, of which some 300 000 were internally displaced and 75 000 forced into neighbouring Uzbekistan. Health facilities were initially overwhelmed by a large number of injured people, requiring an upgrade in rehabilitative services to help those affected. Psychosocial trauma was regarded as the most serious health impact of the crisis.

“When the crisis began, and in the months that have followed, our number one priority has always been to help mobilize resources from other countries to quickly restore essential health services for the people of Kyrgyzstan,” says Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

The Russian Federation has become the latest country to lend its support, providing US$1 million to WHO to help the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Health respond to current health service and mental health needs in the country's south, particularly in the provinces of Osh and Jala-Abad.

"Kyrgyz health services coped relatively well during the civil unrest of 2010, but the crisis also highlighted the need to help improve a wide range of health services, including mother and child health services, immunization, child nutrition, health information management, outbreak detection and mental health and psychosocial support," says Dr Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General for WHO's Health Action in Crises Cluster.

Activities to be conducted by WHO and the Ministry of Health include:

  • Improving the capacity of health facilities in southern Kyrgyzstan and setting up three mobile medical teams to ensure access to medical care for affected people.
  • Providing emergency medical supplies for hospitals and primary health care centres in Osh and Jala-Abad.
  • Helping provide adequate mental health and psychosocial support to conflict-affected people by boosting services of two mental health centre centres in Osh and Jala-Abad and setting up two psychological outpatient centres in Osh and Jala-Abad.
  • Providing operational support and technical expertise to the national health authorities.

Osh city is the country's second largest with a population of 1.3 million, while Jala-Abad has around 1.1 million inhabitants. Approximately half the population of these two areas was affected by the consequences of this conflict. In roughly two months, 2326 people received medical care in the two areas and 1084 were hospitalized. Outpatient services treated 1243 persons. Most patients were trauma cases. The death toll rose to 371.

Hospital officials estimate that most people who required treatment during and after the conflict will require hospital outpatient services for follow up treatment. Therefore health facilities will require support to cope with such expected demands.

For further information:

WHO Country Office, Kyrgyzstan
Dr Oskonbek Moldokulov
Tel.: +996 312 612677, +996 555 781162 (mobile)
E-mail: omo@euro.who.int

WHO Regional Office for Europe
Dr Gerald Rockenschaub
Regional Adviser,
Country Emergency Preparedness
Tel.: +45 39 17 15 51
E-mail: GRO@euro.who.int
Web site: http://www.euro.who.int

WHO headquarters
Mrs Ellen Egan
Information Officer, Health Action in Crises Cluster
E-mail: egane@who.int
Web site: http://www.who.int/disasters

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