Internews presented the experience of COVID-19 information campaign for international partners

At The LHSS (Local Health System Sustainability Project) international consortium online meeting, where partners from all over the world share their successful practices, Internews in Kyrgyzstan presented its experience in conducting the national campaign  (#ЖашаДемал #ДышиКыргызстан) #ZhashаDemal #BreathKyrgyzstan for prevention of COVID-19.

The national information campaign #ZhashaDemal was launched by Internews in the Kyrgyz Republic with the financial support of USAID in October 2020 to prevent the second surge of COVID-19.


Due to a systematic approach in shaping messages for the population-based on data and a clear understanding of niche audiences, the #BreatheKyrgyzstan information campaign, together with other government’s and the international community’s measures, helped prevent the second COVID-19 wave in Kyrgyzstan expected on New Year's holidays in December 2020 - January 2021.

The project leader Zhanna Shegai highlighted the features of the #BreatheKyrgyzstan information campaign In her presentation to international colleagues. Those circumstances ensured success, including an ecosystem approach to interacting with the community in the field of health, understanding risks, need to involve a local community to expand access to reliable health information and public health.

International colleagues noted the non-standard and inclusiveness in communication strategy development for covering medical issues. For example, producing video series for regional audiences, the team creatively presented the connection between new reality and traditions of the Kyrgyz people.


Behavior change campaigns were based on a jewelry approach targeting different audiences and focused on the social importance of the pandemic. Influencers from Tik-Tok and Instagram were involved to work with the youth audience, and their actions set an example of the new vital trend: wearing a mask is fashionable and safe.

The online campaign included informing and entertainment formats: live streaming, quests, and contests and reached over 1.5 million users.

The page on Instagram has become a meeting place for young people to get acquainted with new trends and discuss social aspects of the pandemic.

Special attention was paid to the children's audience, which is the most vulnerable psychologically, but often has been overlooked by traditional information campaigns. The most recognizable New Year character as Santa Claus told about his own Covid-19 experience for little citizens of the country.


The Santa Claus Got Sick campaign has been aimed to explain to children in their native language what was happening, engaging the audience to share advice on necessary preventive measures.

Authors of the most accurate advice from all regions of Kyrgyzstan received prizes. The campaign was supported by a professional community of psychologists.

As a part of the campaign, Internews in the Kyrgyz Republic promoted data journalism and fact-checking, supported the media community in the fight against disinformation and requests for access to open data on coronavirus, and generally contributed to the improvement of public information by state medical structures.

The value-based production and distribution partners, as well as independent news and fact-check services, were identified as significant components of the implementation success.

While the campaign is not over yet, the Kyrgyz and international communications and health care experts evaluate it as one of the brightest and most inclusive not only in the region but also in the world.


Presentation in English below:

LHSS - (Local Health System Sustainability Project) The Local Health System Sustainability Project helps countries achieve sustainable, self-financed health systems that offer quality health care for all.