Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the two Central Asian countries most in need of outside support to help prop up crumbling healthcare systems. Yet amid rising evidence that officials are stealing international aid, donors are increasingly wary of extending assistance.
Lately Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been on the radar of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for all the wrong reasons. In April, the Global Fund sent a letter to Kyrgyzstan’s Health Minister demanding the return over $120,000 that an audit identified as stolen through fraudulent procurement. In Tajikistan in March, the Global Fund blacklisted a government committee for misappropriating over $100,000.
According to the World Health Organization, both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan face high rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, with incidences increasing each year. HIV infections are also on the rise: both countries lie on major narcotics trafficking routes and migrant workers bring the virus back from Russia, where the infection rate is exploding.
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Chris Rickleton is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.