"We cannot do miracles without medicines"
Essential medicines, worth $100,000, funded by the European Union and supported by UNICEF, have been distributed for the Ministry of Health and Social Development
"COVID-19 is very unpredictable - if today ten people applied to us for treatment, tomorrow it may be 30. But when you have enough essential medicines in stock, you are confident and well prepared, and you know that you can help people" – Almira Aldasheva, Regional Issyk-Kul Hospital Director.
Issyk-Kul, 31 March 2021 - Dr. Almira Aldasheva has been working in the regional hospital in the Issyk-Kul region since 1982, for more than ten years as director. She describes July 2020, without a doubt, as one of the most challenging times in her life as a health worker.
The regional hospital of the Issyk-Kul Oblast, located in Cholpon-Ata town, serves the region's population, around 80,000 people. The hospital also provides services to tourists in an area full of resorts around Issyk-Kul lake, a popular holiday destination for many people in the country and abroad. The hospital has a maximum occupancy of 135 patients.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workload on the hospital was immense. The peak of the disease occurred in the summer of 2020. The first patient with COVID-19 was admitted on 22 June, but then the number of patients increased, reaching 40-60 patients referred to the hospital daily.
Almira Aldasheva recalls many challenges, such as not having a proven treatment protocol, including procedures, knowledge, and experience, and a lack of medical staff and a worrisome shortage of essential medicines.
"On the most difficult days, additionally to the Ministry of Health, volunteers came to support doctors - local youth, who united to provide all possible assistance to people affected by COVID-19. Some helped with the purchase of medicines, and some others provided oxygen concentrators. People say 'Together - we are strong!'. And indeed it is! By joining efforts, we were able to withstand the force of the first wave, which cost us very dearly, since we lost several colleagues who were in the red zone and until the last moment continued to treat people," Doctor Almira shares with sadness in her voice.
As an immediate response to the shortage of hospital space, the children's rehabilitation centre "Balalyk" was optimized to cover an additional 100 patients with COVID-19, but some challenges in medicine supply remained.
The solution came in late 2020, when the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic distributed more than 2,500 packages of antibiotics, provided by the European Union through UNICEF, to the country's main hospitals, including the Regional Hospital of the Issyk-Kul Oblast.
"In December 2020 we received heparin, ceftriaxone, and amoxiclav, which were necessary for the treatment of COVID-19, we were very grateful for such tangible support from the European Union and UNICEF. COVID-19 is very unpredictable - if today ten people applied to us for treatment, tomorrow it may be 30. But when you have enough essential medicines in stock, you are confident and well prepared, and you know that you can help people. We, as medical workers, do our best to treat, but we only have our hands, heads and brains, and without medicines, we cannot do miracles!" states Almira Aldasheva.
The provision of essential medicines worth $ 100,000 is a part of the project "Enhancing emergency response in Health and Water and Sanitation for sustained prevention and control of COVID-19 in Kyrgyzstan", funded by the European Union Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and supported by UNICEF for the Ministry of Health and Social Development.