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'HIV Moms' Resume Protest At Kyrgyz Parliament

The parents of HIV-positive children in Osh are demanding financial support from the government.
The parents of HIV-positive children in Osh are demanding financial support from the government.
BISHKEK -- Mothers of HIV-positive children have staged another protest at the Kyrgyz parliament building in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

About a dozen mothers from Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Osh claim their children were infected with the HIV virus by tainted blood transfusions while under the care of the state health system. Their children are accompanying them in their demonstration.

Last week, on November 14, the women demonstrated outside the main state health clinic in Osh.

Then on November 16, the women staged a protest in front of the parliament building in Bishkek demanding "justice for our children" and financial support from the government.

On November 17, Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov met with the women and told them he will allocate 1 million soms ($21,500) from the speaker's special fund to help the victims.

The protesting women told RFE/RL on November 21 that they are picketing the parliament to demand that the money allocated by the speaker only be shared out among their families, and not among all families with HIV-infected children.

The parliament's Committee for Health Care is scheduled to discuss on November 22 how the money will be distributed.

Fatima Koshokova, chairwoman of the organization Info-Center Rainbow, told RFE/RL last week that some 200 children in southern Kyrgyzstan were infected as a result of alleged negligence by medical personnel.

Meanwhile, the protesting women say they have nowhere to stay in Bishkek as the old people's home that sheltered them and their children for several days asked them on November 18 to leave. One of the women, who is reportedly ill, is staying with a friend.

The protesting women are also demanding that the monthly state allowance of 3,000 soms ($65) for the treatment of HIV-positive children be significantly increased, that the medical personnel who allegedly gave the transfusions of contaminated blood be brought to trial, and that every family with an HIV-infected child be given a free apartment in Osh and 1 million soms ($21,500) financial assistance.

Read more in Kyrgyz here

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