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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has published a report criticizing Turkmenistan's public health system, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

The report said that Turkmen health authorities underestimate the threat of infectious diseases, manipulate medical data, and consistently fail to meet international standards in medical care.

"People in Turkmenistan are being failed by a health-care system more concerned with its image abroad than with tackling the real threat to public health posed by infectious disease," the MSF report said.

MSF's medical director, Dr. Leslie Shanks, criticized international organizations operating in Turkmenistan for not sufficiently pressuring the Turkmen authorities.

"International organizations in the country, such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, are perpetuating these problems by giving a veneer of legitimacy to misinformation from the government and to practices that are not only ineffective, but often dangerous," Shanks said.

MSF began working in Turkmenistan in 1999 but pulled out of the country last year. The group says it left because it felt that it was unable to bring about change in the country's health-care system due to a lack of cooperation from the government.