Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Отдаленные села нуждаются в здравохранении и свете

By Jenish Aydarov, Ayzat Jeksheev, Dinara. Tapaeva











Despite spiralling rates of maternal mortality in childbirth, women in a remote part of southwestern Kyrgyzstan are having their babies at home.

Zardaly, a village in the Batken region, is accessible only on foot via a precipitous mountain pathway, a trip no expectant mother can make. Instead, home births are assisted by self-taught midwives.

One woman said she was taught how to assist at births by the older village residents, including how to place an apparently stillborn baby in warm water, which sometimes resuscitated it. Post-natal care consisted of “taking care of oneself for 40 days”.

Her husband, however, said she had been in poor health since her own home birth and should really go to hospital for treatment.

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For the second report in this radio package, IWPR travelled to another underdeveloped village, Akkol in the Naryn region. It has been without electricity, healthcare and social services since the end of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, but ten households are hanging on there since they don’t particularly want to move elsewhere.

The families live off their herds of sheep. They are master craftsmen, but no one ever comes to the village so they have no customers. No one has a radio or television, and cooking is done on fires, and the nearest shop is a journey over a rough track to the nearest settlement.

The irony is that in the Soviet period, the area had not only electricity but its own small hydropower plant, which was looted and wrecked after independence.

Power company officials visited Akkol recently to survey what was left of the supply infrastructure, and concluded that it would be difficult but nonetheless feasible to restore power lines.

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The third radio report looked at teenage suicide in the town of Karakol in the eastern Issykkul region. Suicides typically involve men aged between 20 and 45, but one in ten cases occurs among adolescents, and there are concerns the trend is on the increase.

A project that provided a confidential help-line for teenagers had to close when donor funding ended, and local experts say it urgently needs to be revived. The local head of the inspectorate for children’s affairs says one alarming issue is that in six out of ten suicide cases, the motivation is impossible to establish.

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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