China is Kyrgyzstan's top trade partner and a major source of foreign investment to the Central Asian nation. In an article published in Kyrgyz media earlier this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that bilateral trade exceeded 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
Kyrgyzstan was one of the earliest supporters of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is the recipient of significant Chinese investment.
One example is the Osh Clinic Hospital, built with Chinese funding. The facility has the capacity to treat 150 inpatients, includes an emergency department and is well equipped with the latest technology.
The project cost close to 26 million U.S. dollars. "It covers an area of 23,000 square meters. The hospital consists of three buildings separated by corridors," said Shaitbek Abdurakhmanov, the director of the hospital.
Such projects are especially valuable for Kyrgyz people living outside the capital. Before the medical facility came to exist, many had to travel to Bishkek to receive many of the medical procedures now available at the Osh Clinic Hospital.
"Most of the population of Kyrgyzstan lives in the southern region. And people do not always have the opportunity to go to Bishkek to get qualified services. One can even say that the hospital can completely cover the Fergana Valley, as we can provide medical care for the whole population of the Fergana Valley," said Azizbek Junusov, the hospital's deputy director.
Launching projects like the Osh Clinic Hospital that are beneficial for the people of the member states of the SCO is one of the main goals of the organization.
The hospital will soon receive 14 types of new high-tech devices and a new X-ray unit that will allow the medical staff to treat patients with vascular diseases. The hospital administration is also planning for future cooperation with China.
"At the end of the year, we plan on training about 30 specialists in China," said Abdurakhmanov.