The effects of dictatorship on health: the case of TurkmenistanReport as inadecuate

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BMC Medicine

, 5:21

First Online: 30 July 2007Received: 05 September 2006Accepted: 30 July 2007DOI: 10.1186-1741-7015-5-21

Cite this article as: Rechel, B. & McKee, M. BMC Med 2007 5: 21. doi:10.1186-1741-7015-5-21


BackgroundThere is a health crisis in Turkmenistan similar to, but more severe than, in other Central Asian countries. This paper asks whether the health crisis in Turkmenistan is attributable to the consequences of the dictatorship under president Niyazov, who died in 2006.

MethodsThe basis for this paper was a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews with key informants complemented by an iterative search of internet sites, initially published as a report in April 2005, and subsequently updated with feedback on the report as well as a comprehensive search of secondary information sources and databases.

ResultsThis paper describes in depth three areas in which the dictatorship in Turkmenistan had a negative impact on population health: the regime-s policy of secrecy and denial, which sees the -solution- to health care problems in concealment rather than prevention; its complicity in the trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan; and the neglect of its health care system.

ConclusionThe paper concludes that dictatorship has contributed to the health crisis facing Turkmenistan. One of the first tests of the new regime will be whether it can address this crisis.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1741-7015-5-21 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Bernd Rechel - Martin McKee


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