UNICEF and the Government of Japan join efforts to respond to the critical needs of children
Ambassador of Japan visited UNICEF-led projects in the south of Kyrgyzstan
Osh, 13 April 2022 - On 12-13 April 2022, the joint delegation of the Japanese Embassy and UNICEF in Kyrgyzstan headed by Shigeki Maeda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Kyrgyzstan, and Christine Jaulmes, UNICEF Representative, visited Osh region to observe the implementation of development programmes carried out by Government of Kyrgyzstan with support from UNICEF and funded by the Government of Japan.
The visit aimed to oversee the progress and achievements in strengthening maternal and child health care systems, enhancing the resilience of children to climate and disaster risks in Kyrgyzstan. The delegation visited a school in Osh city and a in Nookat rayon, where children learn how to behave in case of any emergency or disaster in the school and participate in simulations with their teachers. Nookat maternity department and Family Medicine Center were also visited to see the improvement made to healthcare services, piloting of telemedicine project and young child home visiting. In Osh province hospital, the delegation observed impact of rehabilitated infrastructures and provision of life-saving equipment on quality of perinatal care on a level of the maternity department.
“UNICEF and the Government of Japan have been partnering to support the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Science in Kyrgyzstan over the past years to addressing the critical needs of children and mothers, with a specific focus on southern regions, including conflict-prone areas. This partnership resulted in improved access of mothers and children to essential and life-saving health services. In schools, it will help enhance the resilience of children to climate and disaster risks,” said Christine Jaulmes, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan.
With the USD 6 million support of the Japanese Government, UNICEF provided assistance to 45 maternal and child healthcare facilities across Kyrgyzstan to improve the quality of perinatal and child health services and the survival of mothers, newborns and children. Since 2014, these interventions been implemented in Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken, Issyk-Kul regions, and the capital city Bishkek and covered nearly 1.2 million children under five years of age and over 200,000 parturient women and newborns.
UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health in introducing several up-to-dated and effective approaches, such as young child home-visiting services, early identification of children with risk of disability, and piloting telemedicine to the primary health care level to get consultation of specialized health experts. Interventions also included renovation of healthcare infrastructure, the provision of life-saving medical equipment to healthcare facilities, and capacity building of healthcare providers to deliver quality health services to women and children.
UNICEF is also working on enhancing the resilience of children to climate and disaster risks in Kyrgyzstan, given that more than 1 million children in the country are at risk due to potential disasters. Children, teachers, and parents are trained to understand and manage risks and learn how to behave safely in emergencies, such as floods, landslides and earthquakes.
“It is crucial to support accessible and quality healthcare for mothers and children, particularly in the vulnerable remote regions. As Kyrgyzstan maintains a high birth rate, children are the future of the country. Putting an emphasis on the development of primary healthcare, Japan is ready to support UNICEF and Kyrgyzstan further to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). As for the “Disaster Risk Management”, I believe that school-based training plays a key role, as is in the case of Japan is destined to live with many natural disasters. During the trip to Osh, I was pleased to see Japan’s good practices were brought to schools and kindergartens, so that children were now better prepared,” said Shigeki Maeda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Kyrgyzstan.
Since March 2020, with UNICEF’s expertise and Japan’s contribution of USD 4 million, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Emergency Situations have been implementing the three-year project on enhancing the resilience of children to climate and disaster risks.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.