The ISUOG Outreach team has just returned from completing Phase I of the Outreach Program in Kyrgyzstan. What began under unique circumstances, launching Trip 1 back in January of 2022 virtually due to COVID restrictions, has resulted in a successful project, marking a significant milestone in the history of ISUOG Outreach and setting new precedents for the future.  Elated by the success of this recent mission, the ISUOG International Trainers who worked with us on the ground share their experiences and reflections on the journey.

We are delighted to share our experiences as trainers for the ISUOG Outreach program in Kyrgyzstan. The impact of ISUOG Outreach is profound, as each step forward not only improves our trainees’ scanning skills but also ensures the delivery of quality patient care. This program holds immense significance for our team and trainees alike.

As a low-income country, Kyrgyzstan faces challenges in reproductive health services, having the highest maternal mortality rate in the region. The ISUOG Outreach initiative aligns seamlessly with the government's National Strategy 2040 aimed at addressing healthcare disparities. The Outreach program contributes to the local health landscape by establishing a foundation of ultrasound trainers capable of disseminating further training throughout the country. 

Access to ultrasound is widely available in Kyrgyzstan and women are granted at least two free pregnancy scans. However, the quality of scans remains low, particularly in rural areas. There is a stark societal divide between urban and rural life, including linguistic differences, that exacerbates the healthcare gaps within the country. Additionally, there is a perception among Kyrgyz women that early ultrasound can harm the baby,  resulting in delayed scans increasing the risk of identifying crucial issues late in pregnancy. Women are also underrepresented in healthcare leadership, with men comprising 75% of leadership positions. It is essential to have women in leadership positions; they help ensure that the unique healthcare needs and perspectives of women are adequately addressed. Forutnately, some efforts have been made such as the implementation of gender equality laws, but further progress is needed to address the gender gap in the healthcare sector.

The week spent on ISUOG Outreach was both challenging and enjoyable. Trainees delivered compelling presentations, marking a perfect step towards their role as future trainers. As seasoned trainers ourselves, we were pleasantly surprised by the swift progress of the trainees during Phase 1. Their high motivation, thirst for knowledge, and eagerness to share expertise not only enhance their ultrasound skills but also contribute to spreading valuable knowledge across the country.

All trainees are committed to the Outreach program’s goals, aiming to build greater capacity in OBGYN ultrasound training throughout the country. In collaboration with Kyrgyz stakeholders, including the Kyrgyz Association of Radiology and the Ministry of Health, trainees aspire to become key sonographers within their regions or national trainers, contributing to a nationwide OBGYN ultrasound training workshop.

As Phase 1 concludes, we eagerly anticipate the next phase in Osh, where our newly trained instructors will transition into teachers, guiding and instructing a fresh cohort of trainees. This initiative holds the promise of enhancing prenatal diagnostic services across the country, and we are optimistic about its potential success. The journey has been truly inspiring and motivating, fuelling our commitment to continue this important work.

The journey with ISUOG Outreach in Kyrgyzstan is not just a training program; it is a collective effort to empower healthcare professionals, bridge healthcare gaps, and improve the overall quality of maternal care in the country. We look forward to the continued success of this initiative and the positive impact it will undoubtedly have on healthcare in Kyrgyzstan.



Bjegovic-Mikanovic V et al. Rights and responsibilities: Women leadership for health in Kyrgyzstan. PLoS One. 2024. 19(2):e0295239. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0295239

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Country programme document for Kyrgyzstan. 2017. Available from:

World Health Organization. Global Observatory on eHealth - Key Indicators. Kyrgyzstan key indicators 2016. Available from: