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Kyrgyz Parents Of HIV-Infected Children Demand Justice

Parents of HIV-positive children picket the main health clinic in Osh.
Parents of HIV-positive children picket the main health clinic in Osh.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Fifteen women have picketed the main health clinic in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh to demand justice for their children who, they claim, have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through transfusions of contaminated blood at hospitals, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Protester Kyzdarkhan Shamshieva told RFE/RL on November 14 that "our children became HIV patients after they were infected by medical personnel, and we demand that all those who are responsible be brought to trial."

Another demonstrator who declined to give her name said the government, both local and central, should pay "proper" compensation to the families whose children contracted the HIV virus, which can lead to the deadly AIDS disease.

Fatima Koshokova, chairwoman of the organization Info-Center Rainbow, told RFE/RL that the first case of a child in Osh being infected with HIV was made public in 2006. Koshokova said some 200 local children have been infected as a result of negligence on the part of medical personnel.

Koshokova said 17 new cases of children being infected with HIV have been reported this year.

Deputy Health Minister Sabyrjan Abdikarimov, who was involved in the investigation into the blood-transfusion scandal, was not available for comment regarding the 17 new cases in Osh.

His secretary told RFE/RL that Abdikarimov "is not able to answer that question at the moment."

The women protesting in Osh told RFE/RL that they plan to travel to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on November 15 to stage a similar demonstration in front of the parliament building.

Read more in Kyrgyz here

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