A systemic lack of trained personnel and an ideological drive behind modern medical care has resulted in the musings of a medieval philosopher, Avicenna, becoming required reading for all doctors and pharmacists.Well, why not? As this BBC Article about Turkmenistan's deteriorating health care infrastructure points out, allegedly there was an outbreak of Bubonic Plague that claimed 69 lives in the country last year. Meanwhile government officials report rosey health conditions, which are raising fears that the undereporting of infectous diseases could lead to a dangerous outbreak with global implications.
They also have to sit exams in President Saparmyrat Niyazov's spiritual writings, the Ruhnama.
As usual with my Turkmenbashi rants and raves, I'll warn again that this is an increasingly dangerous situation. The US, despite the cost in lost access to Afghanistan, has to get out in front of this situation and distance itself from an increasingly erratic regime. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
One Ashgabat intellectual said that generations of school children are growing up knowing practically nothing apart from the president's holy Ruhnama.
That lost generation is what people fear could provide the next generation of recruits for radical Islam.
"Soon," said the Ashgabat intellectual with an air of sad resignation, "there will be no-one left to talk to.
"It'll be the Taliban, it'll be like that. The world will see a new catastrophe, and it will be Turkmenistan."