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KYR_mapSlightly smaller than South Dakota, the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is home to some 5.6 million people. Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia. In 2013, the total gross domestic product (GDP) was 7.2 billion USD and gross national income GNI per capita was 1,200 USD in 2013, one of the lowest in the WHO European Region.

Health outcomes are poor, with Kyrgyzstanis on average living 10 fewer years than Europeans and people in the United States. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, kidney disease and cancer, currently account for nearly 70 percent of all deaths in Kyrgyzstan each year. Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of mortality in Kyrgyzstan, accounting for more than 50 percent of all deaths. More than 18 000 people die of cardiovascular conditions every year, equivalent to 50 deaths a day. About 25% of these deaths occur in people under 64 years of age; most of these deaths are considered avoidable. Other contributing factors include a high prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy dietary choices. This underscores the need for strong primary care and prevention services, coupled with effective patient education and outreach programs — particularly for children and adolescents.

The HIV epidemic in Kyrgyzstan is associated with a somewhat stable number of new HIV infections reported every year during the last five years however, injecting drug use among men has largely driven the HIV epidemic in Kyrgyzstan. Although the proportion of new HIV cases found among PWID have fallen significantly over time (down to 37% of all new HIV infections reported in 2013), PWID still bear a disproportionate number of HIV infections accounting for 58% of the cumulative number of HIV cases reported Kyrgyzstan.

According to WHO’s European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies’ health system review (HiT), the country’s health system is lacking qualified health care providers. The number of health workers per population has declined significantly since the early 1990s, with levels far below the averages for the Central Asian republics and Kazakhstan (CARK), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the CU15 (countries constituting the EU before May 2004), in particular with regard to nurses.