Filha’s co-operation with the Kyrgyz health authorities began in the late 1990s and the current tobacco project has been implemented since 2011, first in the province surrounding Bishkek and in the north of the country. The overall objective of the project is to reduce the use of tobacco products and to support the implementation of the country’s tobacco legislation at the grassroots level.
Smoking remains a major public health problem in Kyrgyzstan, especially among men. The use of cigarettes has decreased somewhat in recent years, but the popular, often homemade nasal snuff in Central Asia has gained popularity. In addition, hookah and electric cigarettes have become fashionable especially among young people.
As a key partner in Filha’s project, there are village health committees in Kyrgyzstan, driven by lay health advocates. In phase 3 of the project for 2017-2020, activities will be expanded to cover the provinces of Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, the sustainability of the project results in the northern parts of the country is being safeguarded.
Supported by the project, Kyrgyz experts have provided a model for the treatment of tobacco smoking in local conditions. Filha’s tobacco project has also attracted interest in neighboring countries, and Filha plans to expand its operations to Tajikistan in 2017 and will explore opportunities to start a similar job in Uzbekistan. The aim is to create a network for reducing the use of tobacco products in Central Asia, with Kyrgyz experts playing a key role.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs finances Filha’s project in Kyrgyzstan from development funds.
Specialist Patrick Sandström
tel. +358 40-515 0512