Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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‘They Took Everything Away’: Russia’s Disabled Hit Hard By New Rules

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – March 14, 2016) Daniil is 5 years old, but he has spent more time in the hospital than many adults. Last year, he was treated four times at the intensive-care unit of his local hospital in Magnitogorsk, an industrial city in Russia’s Urals region. Daniil suffers from congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a life-threatening genetic […]

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Who’s to blame for the meldonium: Russia’s athletes, doctors or officials?

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

The drug that has been banned since January 2016 may lead to the disqualification of several leading Russian athletes in the wake of the Maria Sharapova scandal. However, Russian officials and athletics insiders disagree on who should take responsibility for the latest doping debacle to engulf Russian sports. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TIMUR GANEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH […]

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Russians started drinking less and living longer; Russians’ life expectancy increased to 71.2 years.

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELEONORA GOLDMAN, RBTH – March 10, 2016) Infant mortality decreased by 12 percent in 2015 and Russians’ life expectancy has increased to just over 71.2 years, said Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on March 9, 2016. Meanwhile, she noted that the general aging of the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2016) Late the previous evening, the President had a working meeting with Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Skvortsova, we agreed that you will tell me about the current situation, the year-end results and the results of work in the first quarter – the last two months. Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova: Thank […]

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U.S. National Intelligence Director Says Russia Is Paranoid, Aggressive

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 10, 2016) Russia is “paranoid” about NATO and is likely to continue “aggressive” actions this year to support its claim to great power status, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in Senate testimony Tuesday. In a report on “Worldwide Threat Assessment” that Clapper presented to the Senate, Russia topped a […]

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Russia’s Suicide Rate Falls to 50-Year Low

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 10, 2016) The number of suicides in Russian totaled 24,982 last year – the lowest number in 50 years, the RBC news website reported Wednesday, citing official statistics data. RBC also reported that last year there were 17.1 cases of suicide per 100,000 people, which is lower than in 1962, when 17.4 suicides for […]

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As Ruble Nosedives, Russians Are Priced Out Of Live-Saving Western Treatment

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – February 1, 2016) As the ruble continues its catastrophic tumble, hitting another historic low last month, the pain is being felt keenly across Russia. Among those worst hit are patients in need of urgent surgery abroad or other life-saving treatment billed in foreign currencies. “It all started with a bad cough and a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Flu Virus Microscopic Image (adpated from image at CDC.gov)

(Kremlin.ru -January 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members on support measures for various sectors and other current issues. The meeting began with a report, at the President’s request, from Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova on the epidemiological situation in Russia. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, we will discuss support measures for several economic […]

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Nine lingering myths about Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

We are often held prisoner by imposed stereotypes and opinions about countries, people and events. RBTH has collected nine myths about Russia that are far from accurate. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALYA PUKHOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 26, 2016) 1. The death rate in Russia is higher than its birth rate There is a widespread belief […]

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Russians using less alcohol, says watchdog

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Interfax – January 19, 2016) Up to 500,000 Russians die annually of causes related to the excessive use of alcohol, Rospotrebnadzor consumer rights’ watchdog reports. “Experts say that in Russia alcohol abuse causes the premature avertable death of about half a million people every year, resulting in a mortality rate of about 30 percent of men and 15 percent of […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Ukraine health system in danger of collapse as reforms stall”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

Reuters covers concerns over health care in Ukraine. A reform drive launched by the Western-leaning government installed after a pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovich, was overthrown in a popular uprising last year has become mired in bureaucratic inertia, arguments and allegations of corruption. * * * [A] stalled health bill is one of many examples of the slow progress Ukraine is […]

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Putin: Average life expectancy in Russia to exceed 71 years in 2015

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

(Interfax – December 3, 2015) The average life expectancy in Russia will exceed 71 years in 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly on Dec. 3. “The average life expectancy in Russia has grown by more than five years over the past decade and, based on preliminary estimates, it should exceed 71 […]

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We’re right here; Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – December 2, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. All over the world, autism is a condition that attracts scrutiny and controversy-it is both highly variable and often poorly understood. In Russia, a society still struggling with inherited Soviet disdain of anything […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “UN: Polio Outbreak in Ukraine Is a State of Emergency”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The AP covers the WHO’s reaction to public health issues in war-torn Ukraine. The World Health Organization is urging Ukraine’s health ministry to declare a state of emergency due to a polio outbreak … In September, Ukraine announced two polio cases — the first in Europe since 2010. * * * Half of Ukraine’s children have not been vaccinated against […]

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Got a Diplomatic Dilemma? Send in the Clowns

Clown file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – December 2, 2015) While some potential visitors have crossed Russia off their list, a group of humanitarian clowns still regards the country as an ideal destination. The 22nd annual clown tour of Russia, which ended last week, brought more than 40 garishly dressed volunteers from 12 countries, including those with problematic relations […]

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Russia’s HIV Situation ‘Epidemic’ – Rospotrebnadzor

Microscopic Image of T-Cells Infected by HIV

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 1, 2015) Russia’s HIV infection rates have become epidemic, spreading to citizens beyond at risk groups, the head of Rospotrebnadzor’s epidemiology supervision department in St. Petersburg, Irina Chkhindzheriya said, the Interfax news agency reported. “We have to admit that the country’s soaring HIV rates can be described as epidemic. About 1 percent of Russians […]

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Russian ombudsman probes into high-profile prisoners’ complaints

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – November 17, 2015) Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Ella Pamfilova has sent an official letter to the Russian prison authorities asking them to provide urgent medical help to the brother of prominent opposition activist Aleksey Navalnyy – Oleg Navalnyy, who is serving his prison sentence after being convicted for embezzlement, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax news agency reported […]

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Russia to Consider Criminal Penalties for Doping, Sports Minister Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 12, 2015) Russia may introduce harsher penalties for doping, possibly making it a criminal offense, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said at a press conference, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. “There are a number of measures we can take,” Mutko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “We can introduce new kinds […]

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Most Russians Won’t Make It to Their 71st Birthday, OECD Report Shows

Cigarette Being Lit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 5, 2015) High alcohol and tobacco consumption mean most Russians will never reach the age of 71, with the average life expectancy in Russia lagging almost 10 years behind the average in developed countries – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report published Wednesday. The average life expectancy in Russia […]

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One in Three Russians Exempt From Military Service for Medical Reasons

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – November 3, 2015) Roughly one third of this year’s potential conscripts have been exempted from serving in the Russian military for medical reasons, the head of the Defense Ministry’s main military medical directorate, Alexander Fisun, told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper on Tuesday. This year, about 30 percent of conscripts were turned down […]

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Russian Incidence of Tuberculosis Falls by 30% Over 10 Years

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 3, 2015) Russian incidence of tuberculosis has fallen by 30 percent over the past 10 years, the country’s health minister said Friday, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. Since 2005, incidence of tuberculosis infections in Russia has decreased by 30 percent, while the mortality rate from the disease has decreased twofold, Veronika Skvortsova […]

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Moscow’s Spending Cuts Undermining Russians’ Health and Reducing Life Expectancy

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 21, 2015) Guzel Ulumbekova, the head of the Russian Association of Professional Medical Societies, says that the health and life expectancy of Russians is directly related to the amount of government spending on health care and that as this amount is falling, their health is suffering and their life expectancies are […]

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Russia’s HIV Patients Struggle to Get Treatment

Microscopic Image of T-Cells Infected by HIV

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – September 17, 2015) When Russian health care officials announced last week they would start replacing foreign HIV medication with drugs produced in Russia, patients’ rights advocates were quick to point out that HIV patients have complained that domestic drugs are ineffective and have undesirable side effects – but patients themselves say that […]

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Why Is Russia’s Growth in Life Expectancy Slowing?

Stylized EEG Image Showing Heartbeat Pulse

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 31, 2015) Life expectancy in Russia has been growing several times slower than in the rest of the world for the past 20 years, according to a research by the U.S.-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released last week. During the period of 1990-2013 it only grew by 1.8 years […]

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Russian Press Digest (19 August 2015)

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY RUSSIA) This Wednesday, the Russian press focuses on the departure of Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russian Railways and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. According to business daily Kommersant, Yakunin called his decision to leave ‘a personal one’ during a conversation with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Kaliningrad’s election commission is processing Yakunin’s candidacy to become the […]

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Ukrainians Will Need a Generation to Overcome Trauma from Russian War, Émigré Psychotherapist Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Paul Goble – Staunton, August 18, 2015) Madlen Rozenblum, an émigré psychotherapist who has been helping Ukrainians with Skype consultations and training sessions, says that Ukrainians are going to need a generation or even more to overcome the traumas inflicted on them by Russian aggression there. While different Ukrainians have experienced the trauma of war differently, she told Novy Region […]

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Why are we so worried about the Russian doping scandal?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

Fresh allegations over doping in international athletics have cast plenty of shame and doubt. They also reveal the west’s political prejudices and ignorance. (opendemocracy.net – Rolf Fretheim, Thomas Rowley – August 14, 2015) Rolf Fredheim is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge, where he works on […]

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Putin’s Other War? Russians’ Binge Drinking

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Peter R. Orszag – August 11, 2015) Peter R. Orszag is a Bloomberg View columnist. Now vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group at Citigroup, he was previously director of the Office of Management and Budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin may be undermining global peace and civic […]

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Georgia’s healthcare privatisation stands as a warning to Ukrainian reformers

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

Ukraine’s government is eager to overhaul the country’s ageing healthcare system. Following Georgia’s example may be tempting, but is not without risk. (opendemocracy.net – Kathleen Weinberger – August 6, 2015) Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, policymakers across the post-Soviet space have struggled to reform newly independent healthcare systems in the face of skyrocketing mortality and illness rates. […]

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Russian Official Lauds Condom Restrictions

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos, Anna Dolgov – August 6, 2015) A senior Russian official has praised plans to restrict condom imports as part of a drive to reduce reliance on foreign-made goods, suggesting Wednesday that a dearth of the rubber contraceptives will make people more “disciplined” and boost birth rates. Fewer condoms will make people “more strict […]

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RBTH: How effective is Russian drive to combat ISIS recruiters?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

People in both Russian diplomatic circles and the security forces have been describing Islamic State (ISIS) as a “real threat” for a long time now. On Aug. 1 a hotline will start working in Russia for those whose friends or family members have joined ISIS. With experts warning that ISIS cannot be defeated with force alone, RBTH found out what […]

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UN: At least 5 million Ukrainian citizens in need of humanitarian aid

UN Building file photo

(Interfax – July 10, 2015) At least 5 million Ukrainian citizens are in need of humanitarian aid, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on July 10. And 1.4 million of them are internally displaced persons. According to the information of the UN, the most vulnerable group is people living in the area of the so-called “contact […]

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Interfax: Russians are now more loyal to sex before marriage than they were 25 years ago – poll

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Interfax – June 26, 2015) Russian society became more liberal to sex before marriage in the past 25 years, a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) shows. The poll, which surveys 1,600 people, was conducted in 130 populated areas of Russia. It shows that the percentage of respondents who believe sex before marriage is unacceptable for […]

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NEWSLINK AP: In east Ukraine psychiatric ward, war deepens mental wounds

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Whenever the bombs fell, the men and women in the psychiatric ward would huddle in terror around fellow patient Valentina Izotova, a stout, maternal-looking woman, and she would read to them from her favorite book. They hardly understood a word, but her voice soothed them.

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NEWSLINK The Ecologist: Ukraine war leaves a long shadow of pollution, ill-health and ravaged industries

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Over a year after violent conflict began in East Ukraine, indications are emerging of its severe environmental impacts in the highly industrialised Donbas region, and the grave health risks to civilians that will endure long into the future. The area will need international assistance both to reduce the hazards, and to ‘green’ the region’s often polluting industries.

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Looking after yourself in Siberia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

The ‘rationalisation’ of medical and social services in rural Russia has compelled people to acquire new skills in order to survive, but life for the weakest is very hard – and very expensive. (opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky, an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta – May 12, 2015) Circumstance has forced the inhabitants of Kurganka, a village in Russia’s Omsk Region, to […]

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30 Years On, Gorbachev Rues Running of His Soviet Anti-Alcohol Campaign

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 15, 2015) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that his massive anti-alcohol campaign in the 1980s was too swift and sweeping, and combating heavy drinking – which remains a major problem as Russia’s problem 30 years later – should have been handled more patiently, according to a recent interview. Speaking on […]

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Putin Declares War on Russians’ Health

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – May 14, 2015) At what point will Russians begin to question the choices being made by their government? Maybe when those choices start killing them. As Bloomberg’s Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer report, Russia’s health system has suffered a severe reversal as a lower oil price has reduced government revenue and spending. Forced to pick […]

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