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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 15:55 GMT
Turkmenistan's plan for baby boom
Turkmenistan's President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in Brussels, 5 November 2007 (picture by John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkmenistan's president hopes to encourage a baby boom
Turkmenistan's president has announced incentives to reward women who give birth to eight or more children, according to state media.

Those who qualify for Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's reward will receive a one-off payment of $250 (125).

They will also get lifetime benefits such as free dental care, utilities and public transport.

There was a large increase in child mortality under the autocratic former President Saparmurat Niyazov.

Under Mr Niyazov's rule, the health system declined dramatically.

Free health care was abolished, all hospitals outside the capital were closed, and thousands of health care personnel were sacked - 15,000 of them in just one day.

President Niyazov did, however, declare 2003 the Year of the Mother - dedicating it to his own late mother, after whom he also renamed the month of April.

The idea of trying to stimulate a baby boom by rewarding mothers is not unprecedented; after World War II the Soviet Union awarded medals to mothers of five or more children.

The scheme approved by President Berdymukhamedov follows the announcement that the government will give $10 (5) to every woman in the country, to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.

Profile: Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov
21 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Fresh optimism in Turkmenistan
21 Dec 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Turkmenistan
23 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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