Tajikistan Table of Contents
The life expectancy of a male born in Tajikistan in 1989 was 66.8 years, and of a female, 71.7 years. In 1989 this was the longest life span projection among the five Central Asian republics, but it was shorter than those of all the other Soviet republics except Moldavia. In Tajikistan, urban women had the longest life expectancy (72.9 years), and urban men had the shortest (65.2 years). According to the 1989 census, the most frequent causes of death in Tajikistan were infections and parasitic diseases, circulatory disorders, respiratory disorders, tumors, and accidents. Those causes accounted for 78 percent of the 33,395 deaths in that year. In the 1970s and the 1980s, Tajikistan's mortality rate rose from 8.5 to 9.8 per 100 male inhabitants and from 6.7 to 7.3 per 100 female inhabitants.
In the mid-1990s, the health of Tajikistan's citizens was threatened increasingly by the condition of the country's water supply, which conveyed disease-causing organisms as well as toxic chemicals from agricultural and industrial origins to the population. By the late Soviet era, cases of typhoid occurred thirteen times more frequently in Tajikistan than in the Soviet Union as a whole. The health of rural inhabitants was jeopardized by inadequate sanitation and improper storage of toxic substances, and by environmental pollution (see Environmental Problems, this ch.).
Maternal and infant mortality remained serious problems in Tajikistan in the 1990s. In 1988 Tajikistani women were 1.6 times more likely to die in childbirth than were women in the Soviet Union as a whole. By 1989, according to official statistics, forty of every 1,000 babies born in Tajikistan did not survive to the age of one year. In many parts of southern Tajikistan, the rate was more than sixty per thousand. (The rate of infant mortality was higher than indicated by official Soviet statistics, which were underreported in rural areas and often were adjusted downward.) Factors contributing to infant mortality include family poverty; inadequate nutrition for nursing mothers, babies, and schoolchildren (who receive inadequate meals in school); and a lack of safe drinking water. Experts believe that environmental pollution, especially that caused by the agricultural chemicals used in cotton production, plays a major role in the rising rates of maternal and child mortality, as well as in the relatively high incidence of birth defects.
Employment in heavy industry also poses health risks for women and their children. By the late 1980s, some 80 percent of low birth-weight babies were born to women employed in heavy industry at jobs posing the risk of physical injury. Most important of all was the poor quality of health care that mothers and infants received and the inadequacy of the maternal and child care facilities where care was delivered. By Soviet national standards, Tajikistan in the late 1980s lacked 8,000 beds in maternity facilities and 13,000 bed for infants. Problems related to infant and maternal health were more serious in rural areas than in the cities. Soviet studies linked infant death to poor preventive health care, a lack of proper medication, and a lack of professional medical care.
Narcotics use in Tajikistan is rated as a minor health problem; in 1995 there were an estimated 40,000 drug users in the country (see Internal Security, this ch.). Authorities discovered heroin traffic into the country in 1995. As of the end of 1995, Tajikistan had reported no cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) to the World Health Organization, although the Ministry of Health reported that twenty-four AIDS diagnostic laboratories were in operation in 1993.
Data as of March 1996
Tajikistan Table of Contents