About Tajikistan

The Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia. The country's history is ancient: The Silk Road once passed through Tajikistan. In a population of 9 million people, 90 percent live in lower elevations, predominantly in settlements called qishlaqs, with population density increasing from east to west. The population is overwhelmingly of the Tajik ethnicity, and the majority of Tajikistanis are Muslim. The nation is rich in mineral resources such as iron, lead, zinc, salt, fluorite, and precious stones.

The country is relatively young, having broken off from the Soviet Union in 1991. Shortly after independence, anti-government demonstrations sparked a five-year civil war ending in 1997. Despite the turmoil, Tajikistan has since increased its political stability and made significant economic progress. Over two decades, from 2000 to 2018, the country dramatically decreased poverty rates from 83 percent to 27 percent.

Tajikistan must still work to repair its healthcare system after infrastructure damage from the civil war and decades of underinvestment. The country continues to have the lowest health expenditure in the WHO European Region. Since its civil war, Tajikistan has made gains in life expectancy, hitting a plateau of around 71 years. Likewise, the under-five mortality rate has improved, dropping from over 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in the early 1990s to under 50 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. Lower respiratory infections, neonatal disorders, and diarrheal diseases continue to cause a significant number of deaths, but have improved over time. Significantly, non-communicable diseases contribute most to death in Tajikistan, with ischemic heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis, congenital defects, diabetes, hypertensive heart disease, stomach cancer, and COPD causing the most deaths.

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