Kyrgyz Minister and Member of Parliament support intersectoral approach to road safety

WHO

Kyrgyz Minister of Health Dr Talantbek Batyraliev welcomed 55 stakeholders to an intersectoral policy dialogue on road safety. The Minister declared that reducing road crash deaths is a top priority for the government in Kyrgyzstan, which has the second-highest rate reported in the WHO European Region. WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan jointly organized the meeting, held on 31 October 2016 in Bishkek.

“The science for preventing road traffic injuries is available, but greater political will is needed to implement these interventions,” said WHO Representative Dr Jarno Habicht. Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 on halving road crash deaths and injuries by 2020, coupled with the government’s commitment to the Health 2020 policy framework, presents an unparalleled opportunity to mobilize the intersectoral response needed.

Member of Parliament and Social Affairs Committee member Ms Alfia Samigullina reported that the government had formed a Road Safety Commission to tackle the issue. She also stated that Parliament would consider recommendations from the policy dialogue to inform the new road safety strategy currently being developed.
Countries in the Region have made progress on road safety by introducing better speed enforcement, checks on driving licences and tests for vehicle roadworthiness. However, in Kyrgyzstan, results from a legislative review of the national road safety strategy demonstrated that many of the laws, such as those related to drink–driving, speeding and the use of helmets and child car restraints, need to be strengthened.

Stakeholders proposed the following actions, which will be presented to the Minister of Health and to Parliament to improve the road safety strategy of Kyrgyzstan:

  • reduce the urban speed limit to 50 km/h and 30 km/h around schools;
  • enact clearer legislation around drink–driving, as per international best practice;
  • enact clearer laws and enforcement for wearing motorcycle helmets;
  • strengthen legislation related to child car restraints and front and rear seat belts;
  • introduce social marketing campaigns to engage road users; and
  • carry out improvements in road infrastructure and vehicular safety.

Capacity-building workshop on road safety

The policy dialogue was followed by a 2-day Training, Educating and Advancing Collaboration in Health on Violence and Injury Prevention workshop to strengthen national capacity on road safety, with a particular focus on risk factors such as drink–driving. The 30 participants represented various sectors including health, transport, the interior, the mayor’s office and nongovernmental organizations.

WHO/Europe conducted the policy dialogue and capacity-building workshop under a biennial collaborative agreement for 2016–2017 between the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan and WHO. It organized the capacity-building workshop in the context of the Project on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, financed by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.