On 24th of October, 2023 the Republican Center for Health Promotion and Mass Communication together with NGO “ECOIS-Bishkek,” member of EHPMI organized an event — “press café” to talk about lead poisoning of children. The event was attended by the Head of the Public Health Department of the Kyrgyz Republic (Zinat Beishebaeva), representatives of other…
Lead poisoning is one of the most acute but under-recognized child health problems of our time. Despite its enormous long-term impacts on health and economy, Kyrgyzstan still does not have any system and lacks technical capacity to effectively identify, treat, and prevent lead poisoning of children.
The Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic together with “ECOIS-Bishkek” in partnership with Pure Earth and financial support from Takeda Foundation, is launching a five-year project “Strengthening Health Systems to Reduce Lead Exposure”. The project is aimed at studying the human health effects of environmental lead pollution and particularly focuses on preschool children as the most vulnerable group. The goal of the project is to protect children from lead poisoning and to establish a public health system to identify, monitor, treat, and reduce children’s toxic exposure to lead. In the project the Ministry of Health will develop a system for responding to lead poisoning: representatives of other departments, medical professionals and ordinary citizens will be trained on how to act in such situations.
The project is also being implemented in Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Peru. All these countries just like Kyrgyzstan lack technical capacity to effectively address the lead poisoning problem.
According to Indira Zhakipova, Program Manager of “Ecois-Bishkek”, today no state laboratory conducts testing of biologic media for lead concentrations. The project plans to strengthen the capacity of national laboratories and health systems to monitor concentrations of lead and other heavy metals in blood, urine and other media.
Zhakipova said: “Last year we bought goods at three markets — in Cholpon-Ata, Osh and Bishkek — to check the lead content. We found no lead in the food, which pleased us very much. But lead was found in ceramic dishes, children’s paint and some toys.”
The project will help overcome major technical and clinical obstacles and implement effective national actions to monitor and reduce the risks of lead poisoning. Also in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic there will be actions to identify and environmental monitoring the sources of such contamination.