Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Health Matters in Rural Kyrgyzstan

Ayday Tokonova reports on a countrywide network in Kyrgyzstan that provides practical advice on health issues in the kind of language people understand.
As the reporter found when she visited Chontash, a village in the northern Chuy region, there is a need in rural areas, in particular, for basic information on hygiene and common diseases. Brucellosis, for instance, can be a problem since it can be transferred from livestock to humans working with animals, but the right preventive measures can prevent infection.

There are now over 1,000 village health committees in Kyrgyzstan, staffed by people with no formal medical training whose job it is to dispense advice on preventive medicine, rather than treatment.

Doctors say health advice has much more of an effect on people when it is delivered by fellow-villagers and explained in terms that they can understand.