In Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken Region there is a village called Beshkent, where 12,000 people depend on water delivered by irrigation channels called aryks. These channels are vulnerable to contamination from animals, debris and trash.
At the medical clinic in Beshkent, head physician Abid Madaliev treats numerous cases of hepatitis, gastrointestinal infection and brucellosis, a joint disease that is transmitted from livestock to humans through contaminated water. Cases of gastrointestinal infection in the village are double the national average.
Madaliev says that although vaccines are given to newborns, he sees many hepatitis cases – about 20 per month. Instances of waterborne diseases are “especially acute in autumn, when leaves falling in the aryk leads to the growth of bacteria,” he said.
To read the full story
Jodi Hilton is an independent photographer.