Infant mortality in Kyrgyzstan before and after the break-up of the Soviet Union
There is a great deal of uncertainty over the levels of, and trends in, infant mortality in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. As a result, the impact of the break-up of the Soviet Union on infant mortality in the region is not known, and proper monitoring of mortality levels is impaired. In this paper, a variety of data sources and methods are used to assess levels of infant mortality and their trend over time in one Central Asian republic, Kyrgyzstan, between 1980 and 2010. An abrupt halt to an already established decline in infant mortality was observed to occur during the decade following the break-up of the Soviet Union, contradicting the official statistics based on vital registration. Infants of Central Asian ethnicity and those born in rural areas were also considerably more at risk of mortality than suggested by the official sources. We discuss the implications of these findings, both for health policy in this seldom studied part of the former Soviet Union and for our understanding of the health crisis which it currently faces.