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Uzbekistan: Mrs. Clinton Stresses Importance Of Women's Health

Tashkent, 13 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today attended opening ceremonies for the Tashkent Women's Health-Care Center at Tashkent Medical Institute. In brief remarks, Clinton said the health of countries depends on the health of mothers.

She also said the government of Uzbekistan is very aware of women's issues. But, Clinton said the abortion rate in Central Asia is still high, and that Central Asian women should be more aware of their health needs.

The Director of the Tashkent Medical Institute, Hamid Karimov, speaking at the opening ceremony, said that since 1992 the Institute has worked in partnership with the America's University of Illinois. Karimov said 70 doctors from Tashkent have received training in the U.S. through special exchange programs.

The head of the Tashkent Women's Health-Care Center, Dilmurod Yusupov, told our correspondent that Clinton delivered a large cargo of aid to Tashkent, including a wide range of medical supplies.

Clinton today also visits the Tashkent University of World Economy and Diplomacy, where she responded to questions from Tashkent students. As she did in Almaty and Bishkek, Clinton again used this opportunity to focus attention on education opportunities for women.

Clinton said she is familiar with Uzbekistan's history, and that she is impressed with the number of positive developments in the country's more recent political and economic transition. Clinton said that perhaps most important is that the attitudes of people are changing toward their daily lives.

Clinton told students that it is important to grasp new technologies, including the use of the Internet.

One student, Shamoza Siadikrmova, noted for Clinton that - on the initiative of Tatyana Karimova, the wife of Uzbekistan's President (Islam Karimov) - that the U.S. First Lady's book, "It Takes a Village," has recently been translated into Uzbek and is widely available.

Karimova told RFE/RL that she is very impressed by the First Lady and by Clinton's openness. Karimova said she is sure Clinton's visit will help further develop U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.

Clinton today and tomorrow travels to two ancient "Silk Road" cities: Bukhara and Samarkand.