Medical Education Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic

Since its independence in 1991, The Kyrgyz Republic is actively reforming the health sector to improve access to affordable health care, promoting primary care and family medicine and reforming the financing of the health care system. The country struggles with an important shortage of doctors in the rural areas, particularly at the primary health care level.

In this context, the Ministry of Health asked the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to provide financial support and international expertise to help reform the medical education to improve the quality of newly trained doctors to respond better to health needs of the Kyrgyz population.

Since 2008, SDC has mandated the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the Unit of Development and Research in Medical Education (UDREM) at UNIGE to provide technical support to the medical education reform. Initially concentrating exclusively on under-graduate education, since 2013 the project also includes the reform of post-graduate (PGME) and continuing medical education (CME). The full under-graduate curriculum has been revised and modernised, with much more emphasis put on clinical training and more topics on family medicine have been introduced.

At PGME level, the project works at designing a new PGME strategy, on modifying the legislation to restructure post-graduate training to allow residents to be trained also in the regional medical facilities, become fully in charge of patients in medical facilities and introduce an initial compulsory two years of general practice before choosing a speciality. As for CME, the aim is to strengthen a decentralized CME model, using e-learning and telemedicine and strengthening the role of medical associations. A national Kyrgyz Medical Association has been created.

Simultaneously many activities are being pilot tested in the Naryn province in central Kyrgyzstan.