Pam Smith recently returned from Kyrgyzstan where she participated in the International Primary Care Respiratory Group’s (IPCRG) conference in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan.
Following the conference Pam joined a Kyrgyz and international group on a road trip to visit health facilities, local communities and the Silk Road. The international group included general practitioners and paediatricians committed to improving respiratory health worldwide and in lower and lower middle income countries in particular. The group works in partnership with Kyrgyz medical leaders and their teams. At the three day conference Pam spoke on the potential of nursing leadership to transform the nursing workforce to take on primary care roles to improve the population’s health. Kyrgyzstan faces challenges to respiratory health from a high prevalence of smokers and internal smoke pollution from cooking stoves.
In the At-Bashy Family Medicine Centre close to the Silk Road and the Chinese Border, the international team met with over fifty local health workers the majority of whom were nurses. They were thrilled to meet a nurse from Scotland and excited to know that nurses could study in universities and become professors. The entire conference and trip was led by Professor Talant Sooronbaev, Chief Pulmonologist in partnership with Sian Williams, IPCRG’s Executive Officer. Sian also works closely with the University of Edinburgh’s NIHR’s Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE) where she and Pam first met. Sian and Pam are planning to follow up potential funding for nursing developments in Kyrgyzstan and to meet with Dr Barbara Stillwell, Executive Director of the global Nursing Now campaign.