Infant Mortality in Kyrgyzstan before and after the Breakup of the Soviet Union

Michel Guillot, University of Wisconsin at Madison
So-jung Lim, University of Wisconsin at Madison

There is much uncertainty about changes over time in infant and child mortality in former Soviet Central Asia, especially since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In this paper, we examine the extent to which children in Kyrgyzstan have been affected during the post-Soviet health crisis, by examining whether recorded declines in infant and child mortality are real or artifactual. Using a variety of data sources and methods, we find overwhelming evidence that, contrary to previous assessments, actual levels of infant and child mortality in Kyrgyzstan, which were quickly declining during the 1980s, have abruptly stalled since 1991, and have even increased in some instances. The implication of this research is that the nature of the health crisis in former Soviet Central Asia is fundamentally different from that in Russia. We discuss the possible factors explaining these differences and the implications for health policy in the region.

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Presented in Session 9: Infant Mortality