18 november 2019

Central Asia news

What do citizens of Tajikistan die of?

28.11.2007 15:04 msk

Olga Senchuk

Analytics Tajikistan

Death rate in Tajikistan is quite high. According to the Statistics State Committee, the death rate is 26.4 per every 1,000 citizens. Average duration of life in Tajikistan in 1993 was 66 years according to the national Statistics State Committee and 54.7 years (56.4 for women and 53.1 for men) according to the World Health Organization. Average Europeans live almost 17 years longer.

Economic growth in Tajikistan seems to be having no effect on prosperity of the population. In theory, medical services in Tajikistan are free, but proper medical treatment requires payments which are usually more than the average Tajik can afford.

What do citizens of Tajikistan die of?

Death certificates are quite vague on the cause of death because it is a rare Tajik family that enlists the services of autopsists. Again, they cannot afford it. Unlike in Africa where the duration of life is the shortest in the world and people usually die of HIV\AIDS, Tajiks mostly succumb to non-catching diseases.

According to what information is available, 14,584 Tajiks out of every 100,000 died in 2006 of problems with circulation organs. With over 40% of the population suffering from respiratory system maladies, the latter inevitably take their toll (2,853 deaths). Malignant neoplasms killed 2,064 Tajiks.

A lot of deaths (1,530) were logged in traffic accidents and as a result of violence, suicides, and accidents.

There is no exact information on deaths caused by immoderate drinking, smoking, and drug addiction even though they do take their toll and have a thoroughly negative effect on average Tajik's state of health and duration of life.

Stresses, socioeconomic inequality, inability to afford proper medical treatment are additional risk factors. Low living standards interfere with compilation of exact statistics on the chronically sick.

Could it be that someone finds this short duration of life rewarding? After all, the state does not have to bother with seeking additional funds for pensions and medical and social services.

Amonullo Goibov, Secretary of the Tajik National Coordinating Council for HIV\AIDS, TB, and Malaria Prevention, told Asia-plus that "financial well-being is not the only and unquestionable basis for evaluation of the population's health. Ninety-three point seven percent of deaths are caused by non-economic factors."

"Death rate these days is 1.4 times below what it was only a few years ago," Goibov said. "Stresses and morale of society (aggressiveness, hopelessness and so on being the predominant dispositions) played their part in the period of transition to free market relations. And so did environmental pollution. The situation with this latter in the meantime improved over the last 13 years due to deterioration of national economy. The bulk of harmful agents that end up in the atmosphere is now 2.8 less than what it used to be."

"Intensive and broad use of pesticides was a thoroughly negative factor affecting environment in the 1980s. In 1992, the use-of-pesticides ratio in Tajikistan was 19 kilogram/hectare. It was the highest ratio in the Commonwealth," Goibov said. "In cotton-cultivating areas the content of mercury and phosphates in soil was even estimated at 48 kilogram/hectare. Things changed in the 1990s, use of chemicals went down and so did their content in soil, foods, and water." According to the specialist, this reduction improved the situation with the death rate to a certain extent.

Asked for a solution to the problem of the short duration of life, specialists of the Health Care Ministry suggested various complex programs that would deal with all factors exerting a negative effect on the population's health and programs aimed to improve living standards.

According to the UN report (2006), over 80% of the population of Tajikistan live below the subsistence minimum. It follows that longer lives are going to remain an unattainable dream for the time being.