Seminar to review the results of the 2012 Kyrgyz Republic Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) took place in in Bishkek on September 23, 2014. Experts from the National Statistical Committee and the Ministry of Health discussed DHS and other national findings in four areas – children’s nutrition, women’s nutrition, adult health, and domestic violence – and proposed policy changes and new programs to address these challenges. Representatives from the Office of the President, Government, and Parliament also attended along with subject matter experts from regional health management groups, state agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the media.
The policy briefs highlight a number of key issues in healthcare. Poor nutrition remains a critical problem, with nearly 20% of children under age five suffering from stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition. Among women, weight control is a growing concern. One in three women age 15-49 and three in four women age 40-49 are overweight or obese. Anemia is also common, affecting more than 40% of young children and 35% of women. Recommendations outlined in the DHS policy briefs include amending national regulations to fortify flour with iron; providing iron and folic acid supplements to pregnant women; and media campaigns on healthy eating habits. Malnutrition in young children can have long-term consequences including difficulty learning and a higher risk of chronic illnesses later in life. Preventing malnutrition must become a national priority involving the combined resources of the Government, the medical community, businesses, and community groups.
“The DHS results are critically important for evaluating current public health policies and programs in the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Deputy Minister Marat Temirbekovich Kaliev. “With the DHS results, we have the data needed to strengthen our health care systems, enact sound policies, and improve the health and welfare of our citizens.”
The Kyrgyz DHS is part of the worldwide Demographic and Health Surveys Program, which is designed to collect data on fertility, family planning, and maternal and child health. The 2012 Kyrgyz Republic DHS was conducted by the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Financial and technical support for the DHS was provided by USAID, with additional support from the United Nations Population Fund.