The cooperation

New parents at the National Mother and Child Health Center in Bishkek.

On behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the Promotion of Perinatal Health project in close cooperation with the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health from October 2018 to September 2020.

The challenge

While Kyrgyzstan has experienced great success since 1990 in reducing deaths among children under five, neonatal deaths have fallen at a slower rate and maternal deaths have hardly declined at all. Despite high coverage of antenatal care and specialised obstetric services, Kyrgyzstan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the European region. Many maternal deaths could be prevented, but a lack of standards and poorly regulated referral practices mean that high-risk pregnancies are often not detected in time, referred to the correct level of care, or adequately treated. In rural areas, primary health care workers are few in number, insufficiently skilled in the provision of antenatal care, and often difficult to reach.

The Government of Kyrgyzstan is working to strengthen the health system so that it can deliver quality services across the life cycle, including for mothers and children. The National Health Strategy 2019-2030, entitled ‘Healthy Person – Prosperous Country,’ places particular emphasis on high-quality primary health care focused on prevention, early detection and case management and on patient-centered integrated care.

The approach

The project is the first-ever health-related bilateral technical cooperation between Germany and Kyrgyzstan. As a new development partner in the health sector, GIZ brings a systemic and multi-level approach to policy advice and capacity building, with a focus on developing models for broader health system reforms. In line with ‘Healthy Person – Prosperous Country,’ the project aims to improve the quality of integrated care services for pregnant women and newborns in five regions of Kyrgyzstan.

To achieve this goal, GIZ works closely with partner institutions at the national level, including the Ministry of Health, the Mandatory Health Insurance Fund and the E-Health Center, and at the regional level in Bishkek, Chuy, Issyk-Kul, Naryn and Osh. Together, nearly 500 people are involved in implementing project measures which build the expertise of health workers, improve the quality of perinatal care services, and strengthen referral pathways and approaches to patient-centered care for pregnant women and newborns.

This technical cooperation project is one module in a larger German-supported health sector programme in Kyrgyzstan which also includes financial cooperation measures implemented by the KfW Development Bank, which has been supporting the Kyrgyz government’s health reforms for more than two decades.