Russia’s Chief Auditor Says 1-In-3 Hospitals Lacks Running Water

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

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Feb. 27, 2020 – article text also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-s-chief-auditor-says-one-in-three-hospitals-lack-running-water/30458571.html)

Russia’s latest report on children’s health released this month notes a shortage of qualified doctors and singles out medical facilities that are in poor condition.

About one-third of 117,000 medical facilities that were inspected lack running water and more than 40 percent lack central heating, according to the Audit Chamber, the Russian government’s public spending watchdog.

Most of the buildings housing medical institutions are in “unsatisfactory sanitary and technical condition,” contributing to their natural dilapidation, the report says of the inspections carried out in January.

Slightly more than half the buildings don’t have hot water, 35 percent lack sewer systems, and 47 percent aren’t accessible by wheelchairs.

Major repairs are needed at 14 percent of the inspected buildings.

“There’s a lack of qualified pediatricians in the regions and the conditions of most buildings used for children’s clinics can’t provide patients the needed comfort,” the Audit Chamber said.

The figures haven’t changed much from 2016 when a similar report was compiled.

The chamber’s previous chief auditor then said central heating was missing at more than 40 percent of Russian clinics or hospitals and running water was absent in 31 percent.

“The watchdog also criticized President Vladimir Putin’s $400 billion national spending program for earmarking a small fraction of the funds on children’s health care through 2024,” The Moscow Times reported.