Health sector leading the way on adapting SDGs in Kyrgyzstan

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All Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Now, countries are engaged in adapting this framework to their national contexts and the specific realities they face at the country level.

In Kyrgyzstan, this effort is taking place alongside the preparation of the national 2030 development strategy, and the creation of a new national health sector strategy that aims to continue along the path towards universal health coverage.

With support from WHO and other development partners, the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan has become an active leader in setting priorities and adapting the SDGs to make implementation possible at the national level.

Health and development: situation analysis and next steps

In the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Kyrgyzstan made considerable progress on improving maternal health. Its current rates match SDG target 3.1, and support the achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Kyrgyzstan’s significant success in addressing malaria culminated in the country receiving WHO certification for malaria elimination in 2016 (part of target 3.3). Efforts to improve child health (addressed under target 3.2) and tackle key communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS (part of target 3.3), also benefited from increased attention and investment, leading to gradual but steady progress.

A comprehensive approach within the SDG framework will enable Kyrgyzstan to build upon these achievements and more systematically address health challenges, such as premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (target 3.4) and road traffic injuries (target 3.6), in the coming decades. It will also empower the country to strengthen health systems, including access to affordable medicines, availability of the health workforce, emergency preparedness and sustainable financing for health. This will contribute to achieving targets 3.8, 3.B and 3.D, as well as SDG 1 on eliminating poverty.

However, before developing plans to integrate the SDGs into Kyrgyz health programmes, it was vital to undertake an analysis of the relevance of health within the context of country development. Different national authorizes, including the National Statistics Committee, carried out this analysis while engaging in an inclusive dialogue on health and development with WHO, other United Nations organizations, and development partners.

WHO provided input into the definition of next steps for integrating and mainstreaming the SDGs. These steps included mapping the relationship between health-related SDGs and strategic government policies; developing a list of suggested indicators for health-related SDGs; and creating descriptions for the health indicators that include a definition, data sources, frequency of collection and reporting, and other indicator features.

The analysis and supporting documents are available in the report “Integration of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 in the strategic programs of Kyrgyzstan’s healthcare sector and the country’s Development Strategy 2030”.

WHO support: integrating SDGs in health programmes, mainstreaming health in development strategies

Since 2016, the WHO Country Office in Bishkek has supported the Ministry of Health to integrate the SDGs into national health programmes, and has made contributions to the country’s 2030 development strategy. WHO conducted expert analyses of health-related programmes and assisted national authorities with mapping indicators, conducting studies and holding policy dialogues with the health and other sectors.

These efforts contributed to a smooth transition from the MDGs to the SDGs, and prompted a fresh look at development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Health 2020, the European policy framework for health and well-being.

WHO initiatives have benefited from partnerships across the entire United Nations family in Kyrgyzstan through dialogue on SDG implications, and from close collaboration with the National Statistics Committee. The Committee took a leading role in the country and beyond by hosting a multicountry meeting on SDG adaptation in September 2016.

Empowering health authorities to be SDG leaders

WHO’s activities have been instrumental in raising awareness of and building support for the SDGs and their intersectoral links among national authorities and the public sector. These activities have helped empower national health authorities to take a proactive role in the early stages of adapting the SDGs to the national context, and in preparing the country’s development strategy.

WHO’s technical support in mainstreaming health and development in other sectors’ activities and in building health sector leadership has been a cornerstone of Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to achieve universal health coverage and sustainable development.

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