As the leading agency in maternal and child health in the donor community’s coordination system, UNICEF is a key partner for the Government in its efforts to improve child survival. With UNICEF's support, the Government has made major policy changes related to safe motherhood and child welfare, including the development of a strategy to improve newborn and child survival rates. In accordance with the national health care reforms Manas and Manas Taalimi, and within the framework of the current Den Sooluk programme for 2012-2016, UNICEF has assisted the Government to optimize and scale up integrated packages of low cost, high impact child survival interventions through routine health services and the community level.
UNICEF is improving the quality of care by building capacity of maternal and child healthcare practitioners on safe pregnancy, newborn resuscitation and effective perinatal care as well as on management of childhood illnesses. It also provides equipment and helps ensure that maternity infrastructure, such as heating, water and sewage systems, are fit for the purpose. In recent years, the equity focus has led to a prioritisation of remote and impoverished areas which see the poorest infant, under five and maternal mortality rates. Currently, 56 per cent of babies are born in maternity wards certified as baby-friendly and infant mortality rates in the pilot areas are clearly decreasing. The efforts are beginning to show results:
Since the 1990s, UNICEF has assisted the Government to develop a strong immunisation system. As a result of this support, Kyrgyzstan has eliminated polio and significantly reduced the incidence of measles and rubella. More than 90 per cent of children under two are fully immunised. UNICEF is continuing to support the Government to improve cold chain management of vaccines through procurement of vital equipment, and working with communities and the media to build public support for and trust in immunisation.
To address the alarming increase of HIV among women and children following an outbreak in medical facilities in Osh province in 2007, UNICEF provided technical expertise to support the Ministry of Health to develop the first ever national programme for prevention of mother-to-child transmission and paediatric AIDS, and modelled its integration into general medical services. Currently, all children infected with HIV benefit from improved paediatric AIDS treatment and monitoring, and 78 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women received antiretroviral medication to prevent mother-to-child transmission in 2011.