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Osh Families Of HIV-Infected Children Protest At Kyrgyz Parliament

Parents of HIV-positive children in Osh protesting in front of Kyrgyzstan's parliament building on November 14.
BISHKEK -- About a dozen mothers of HIV-infected children from Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Osh along with other family members have staged a demonstration outside the Kyrgyz parliament, demanding negligence trials against state medical workers they say are responsible, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The women claim their children were infected by tainted blood transfusions while under the care of the state health system. The children also took part in the protest.

On November 14, the women demonstrated outside the main state health clinic in Osh.

"Our children became HIV patients after they were infected by medical personnel, and we demand that all those responsible be brought to trial," one of the protesters, Kyzdarkhan Shamshieva, told RFE/RL.

On November 15, the women and their children took part in an RFE/RL roundtable program devoted to the issue.

Deputy Health Minister Gulnara Derbisheva and the deputy chief of Kyrgyzstan's AIDS/HIV Center, Aigul Ismailova, also participated in that live broadcast.

The roundtable sparked donations, with listeners and Kyrgyz officials reportedly raising some 10,000 soms ($215), or about 1/10th of estimated annual GDP per capita.

Fatima Koshokova, chairwoman of the organization Info-Center Rainbow, told RFE/RL the first case of a child in Osh being infected with HIV was made public in 2007. Shamshieva said some 200 local children have been infected as a result of alleged negligence by medical personnel.

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

Read more in Kyrgyz here and here