Today, young people aged 14 – 28 years report 30,2% of the total population in Kyrgyzstan. Poor social and economic situation in the country has made its young people especially vulnerable to STI/HIV/AIDS. The official number of people living with HIV in Kyrgyzstan by May 2012 is 4178[i]. It is quite alarming that about 27% of the registered HIV-infected cases through sexual transmission way and growing among young people. The need for comprehensive sexuality education and youth friendly services has been acute.
In general most young people, including adolescents, identify themselves healthy however this is not always the case. Reproductive maturity and the initiation of sexual activity expose young people to the risk of unintended pregnancy, contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. It is obvious that identifying and understanding health behavior of adolescent and youth is a key in developing appropriate policies and services.
According to the report of Republican medical informational center in 2011 condom use among young people age of 15-24 is 40,6% however young people are experiencing risky behaviors and as a result abortion rate, STI and HIV cases are still growing. There is a demand for contraceptives among unmarried but sexually active young people, particularly young women. Taking into consideration that 80% of young people are from rural areas there is a high need for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programs including information, counseling and services.
In this regard, UNFPA in Kyrgyzstan uses comprehensive approach to address youth needs in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) through increase of knowledge, change of attitudes, increase of safe practices among young people and improving access to services. To address the needs of adolescents and youth in SRH services UNFPA contributes in strengthening capacity of national health institutions and civil organizations through capacity building activities among young people, health managers and health providers. The capacity building trainings on youth friendly services (YFS) are organized to enhance knowledge and skills of health providers on proper provision of information and counselling on SRH for adolescents and young people, including most at risk. There is an active work exists with the Ministry of health, other profile ministries, government institutions and health organizations to integrate YFS at all levels. UNFPA in Kyrgyzstan will continue to:
- work closely with key partners on further integration of YFS at primary health care system
- provide national partners with technical expertise and training materials
- build capacity of health providers and health managers
- build capacity of young people on SRHR, YFS, leadership and advocacy
The other main activities of UNFPA youth program are promotion and integration of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) into vocational education system. UNFPA supported development of healthy life style (HLS) package for vocational education system which consists of three main manuals: HLS manual for teachers, SRHR manual for peer educators and guideline on drug abuse and HIV prevention for dormitory mentors. The last one was developed and supported by GIZ. A nine vocational schools agreed to pilot integration of HLS package and already has participated in capacity building activities this year. It’s planned till the end of 2012 to establish a working group on development of strategies to integrate HLS curricula into the vocational education system with following presentation meeting for key decision makers and partners. UNFPA will continue to:
- build capacity of HLS teachers and peer educators
- work closely with State agency on vocational education system to cover all vocational schools in the country
In order to provide with ownership and meaningful youth participation in planning, implementation and evaluation of youth SRHR programs, UNFPA supported institutionalization and development of Y-PEER national network as NGO and established youth resource centers in Bishkek and Osh cities. The resource centers serve as Y-PEER centers for young people to build capacity of youth in peer education, SRHR, leadership and advocacy issues.