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Russia Now


Submitted By wacc101
Words 1442
Pages 6
Briefing Paper 2
Poli 3256 Area Studies: Russia
November 3, 2010
By: Zac Gore

The Health of Russian Society and a look into Healthcare
It’s the end of 2007 and there are still many issues to address when it comes to the health of Russians and health care itself. HIV/AIDS continues to hover at epidemic levels, alcoholism is a country wide problem and death by alcohol poisoning is still on the rise in some areas. Over half of the deaths in Russia are caused by heart problems but the funding for treatment remains insufficient. Russia leads the world in the prevalence of smoking and has yet to sign the World Health Organizations anti-smoking convention. Health care facilities fail to meet fire and safety norms with things like faulty electric power systems and unsatisfactory fire evacuation requirements. Drug addiction continues to be a problem and over 90 percent of the heroin coming into the country is from Afghanistan. Some other noteworthy concerns are the appearances of avian (bird) flu throughout the country and the large number of tuberculosis cases including ones that are drug resistant. However there are some positive trends that have developed. Within the next few years about 30,000 young HIV patients are slated to receive therapy. Drug use is not as prevalent as it was several years ago and increases in drug addiction have ended. The health of Russian conscripts is improving as well compared with the last several years.
1. Alcoholism and alcohol poisoning deaths are a real problem Russian society faces. 2. Cases of HIV/AIDS are on the rise in Russia and society is uninformed about the illness. 3. Cardiovascular disease accounts for over half of the deaths in Russia, but financing for treatment of the disease remains insufficient. 4. Russia is the top smoking country and the statistics show startling results. 5. Health care facilities are unsafe and the continued operation of some has come into question. 6. Drug addiction and overdoses continue to be a problem all over the country.
Main Sections 1. Alcohol poisoning causes about 40,000 deaths per year in Russia. In some regions Russians are resorting to making home-made drinks (samogon) which makes the likelihood of poisoning even greater. On a positive note alcohol poisoning deaths fell by about 12,500 people from the previous year, although things remained unchanged in a few regions. The alcohol market in Russia is very important to the country and it is a complex operation. The Russian government is yet to adopt a state alcohol policy and that is because they care too much about the peace and stability on the alcohol market. It is reported that Russia has about 3 million alcoholics which is a staggering amount. Another side effect of Russia’s alcoholism problem is that hundreds of thousands of children have been left socially orphaned when their parents have been lost to the alcoholism. 2. Since 1987, 403,100 people have registered in Russia as HIV positive. Many of those people have now died and at the moment there are 314,000 registered. The number of HIV/AIDS cases in Russia has increased over the past three years. Russia has 100 to 110 new cases of HIV registered daily. HIV is on the rise in women especially; in 2006 they were responsible for 44 percent of the cases compared to only 20 percent in 2001. The trend is likely to increase over the next few years and soon there could be more women infected than men. It appears that a significant amount of the Russian population knows very little about HIV and they are either uninformed or misinformed. 3. Over 56 percent of deaths in Russia are caused every year by cardiovascular diseases, but financing for their treatment remains insufficient. The Moscow Center of Cardiovascular Surgery receives about 100,000 rubles per heart operation when it costs more than 70,000 rubles for the pre-surgery examination alone. Last year 120,000 people needed heart operations but only 24,000 received them. In addition to under financing by the state, health insurance schemes for the average Russian are nowhere to be found. 4. Russians are still the heaviest smokers in the world and cigarette prices are among the cheapest in the world which is one of the major contributing forces behind Russians heavy smoking. Russia is among a few select countries in the world that has not singed the World Health Organization’s anti-smoking convention. It is estimated that 700 people die every day in Russia from smoke related illnesses. Reports show that 65 percent of men and 30 percent of women smoke. In both groups the vast majority started smoking before the age of 18 years old and the trend indicates smokers are becoming younger and younger. Over 3 million teenagers smoke including 2.5 million boys and 0.5 million girls and the trend of smoking is becoming more popular among the youth. One report reveals that 90 percent of lung-cancer deaths are from tobacco use, 75 percent of bronchitis and emphysema deaths are from tobacco use, and 25 percent of heart disease deaths are from tobacco use. Of those who smoke regularly, 25 percent die prematurely. The heavy smoking of Russians plays right into the hands of multinational tobacco companies who are targeting the country and fuelling the habit; this results in the cheapest cigarettes around. 5. Many health care facilities are operating well below par in regards to fire safety. Many facilities have faulty electrical systems and poor fire evacuation requirements. A significant number do not even have fire alarm systems. The courts are even hearing pleas to have the operation of facilities suspended. Some of those facilities include Moscow Pediatrics and Child Surgery Research Institute, the Child Hematology, Oncology, and Immunology Research and Treatment Center, and the Urology Research Center. 6. Drug addiction and overdose kill about 80,000 people in Russia each year. Reports reveal that 6 million Russians are addicted to drugs; however the official statistic only stands at 500,000 people. Up to 15 million Russians have tried illegal drugs at least once in their lives. One positive trend that has developed though is that increases in drug addiction have ended. Drug addiction rates have dropped since 2003. This is attributed in part to the recognition amongst young Russians that drugs are harmful in many ways and are no longer a part of the pop culture.

The lifestyles that Russians are living are considerably unhealthy. Between the alcoholism, drug use, and smoking it is a foreseen future of health problems for Russians partaking in these dangerous habits. Some of the responsibility falls on Russians themselves to quit these harmful activities or at least enjoy the legal ones in moderation. But much of it is on the State as they need to adopt an alcohol policy. State media should also be used to try and curve alcoholism, drug use, and smoking by using aggressive campaigns against the bad habits and addictions. The State media should also launch campaigns to educate Russians on HIV/AIDS, specifically in the prevention of the disease. It is up to the government to take control of the health crisis in Russia. They must face it head on and realize its capacity and threat. Denying the facts or having incorrect statistics will hinder the progression. Money needs to be pumped into the treatment of cardiovascular disease as it is a leading cause of death in Russia and into the safety of health care facilities. The focus really needs to be put on the young Russian generation as they too are following the path of the older ailing Russians. They are the future and the government must intervene to ensure they are healthy because healthy young Russians will grow to one day be contributing members of society. The government must step up to pull Russia out of this cycle. The destructive lifestyles of Russians must be addressed immediately as the nation is ailing. The scheduled treatment of 30,000 people infected with HIV is a step in the right direction. Reports have shown that the Russian government may be leaning toward signing the World Health Organizations anti-smoking convention. However this is still yet to be seen as it would be a significant stance made by the Russian government. This is what is needed though if the country wants to have any kind of chance in the future.

References 1. Russia and Eurasia Documents Annual (REDA), 2007 Vol. 1. Health Care, pgs 242-246. Eds. J.L. Black, David F. Duke.

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