Category Archives: healthcare

Heroin Nation

The BBC reports:

Russia says it has become the world’s biggest consumer of heroin.

The head of Russia’s anti-narcotics service, Victor Ivanov, said that seizures of Afghan heroin were up 70%. Speaking ahead of a meeting in Vienna of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, he called on the UN to do more to fight the problem. Mr Ivanov, a former KGB officer and senior Kremlin official, said the flood of the drug from Afghanistan posed a threat to Russia’s national security. He painted a grim picture, says the BBC’s James Rodgers in Moscow. He said the drug was partly to blame for rising crime and a fall in Russia’s population. Afghanistan is thought to be the source of 93% of the world’s heroin

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Annals of Russian “Healthcare”

Global Voices translates a post, styled as an “unsent letter to the president” which recently caused a sensation in the Russian blogosphere:

There is a town called Yelets in Lipetsk region. And there is the City Hospital #1 in the town of Yelets. There is a department of hemodialysis and gravitational blood surgery in this hospital. The only one in the whole town, by the way. Up until recently the department had its own room for its patients and was open 24 hours a day. Because of this, doctors and nurses were paid some extra money, in addition to their primary salaries: for working night shifts, holidays and weekends. Imagine how much the total bill ended up being. Too much money, horrible. […]

And so in summer (before any official news of the crisis, by the way), Lipetsk Regional Health Care Department found a way to save the Motherland some money. First, they took away the hemodialysis department’s room, then canceled night shifts as well as Sunday and holiday shifts.

Of course, those irresponsible sick people started complaining right away. Like, they are having attacks of acute kidney failure not only on workdays from 8 AM to 5 PM, but at night, too, and even on holidays. And they started screaming that a person with kidney problems, who is having an attack on a Saturday evening, is unlikely to survive until Monday morning without hemodialysis. And they cited the recent death of a 20-year-old woman as an example. To make everyone feel sorry for them, of course…

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Scorched by Global Warming, Ravaged by AIDS


Russia, Scorched by Global Warming, Ravaged by AIDS

Some Russophiles might be inclined to imagine that the phenomenon of “global warming” might be good for frigid, frozen Russia because it might thaw out vast swaths of unproductive territory and make them more fertile and habitable.

One problem with such a theory, of course, is that Russia’s population is dwindling by the day, expected to fall by one-third in the next half-century or so.  Which means that Russia can hardly manage to populate the territory it has now, much less new territory uncovered by global warming.

And now, scholar Paul Goble is reporting that in fact the whole notion is bogus.  He states:   “the Russian Federation will be more profoundly and negatively affected by global warming over the next 40 years than will any other country, a projection that Russian experts and officials say make it critical that Moscow take the lead both domestically and internationally to combat this trend.”

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Russia’s Drug Problem

Paul Goble, writing on Georgian Daily, reports:

Three “drug” problems – the increasing inability of many Russians in the current economic crisis to pay for scarce medications, the rising number of Russians using illegal drugs, and mounting suspicion that illegal immigrants are involved in this traffic – are all hitting Russian society hard, Moscow officials say.

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EDITORIAL: A Heedless Putin’s Russia, ravaged by AIDS


Heedless Putin’s Russia, ravaged by AIDS

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin hasn’t mentioned his nation’s HIV infection rate in more than four years.  Apparently, he thinks it’s no longer an issue. Either that, or he’s simply given up on the problem and, in classic neo-Soviet fashion, is sweeping it under the carpet.

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EDITORIAL: “Healthcare” in Vladimir Putin’s Russia


Healthcare in Vladimir Putin’s Russia

Global Voices has translated a series of Russian blog posts dealing with the quality of healthcare provided in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.  The story they tell is truly horrifying, and not only because of the grotesque disregard for individual human life that is shown by the regime but also because of the craven cowardice displayed by the Russians who confront it.

The story begins in 2006, when a blogger’s mother is taken to the hospital with an injured leg.  She spent her entire period of treatment languishing in a hallway along with hundreds of other patients helplessly waiting (basically, begging) for treatment in the packed confines of the facility.

Jump ahead to this year, when the mother’s condition worsens and she needs specialized surgery.  There’s a gigantic two-year waiting list, and the only way the woman can get on it is to obtain a specialized permission to enter the list. This requires a ghastly encounter with the bureaucracy.  Global Voices translates what happened next:

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Advice of the Day on Russia: Don’t Drink the Water!

You’d think that faced with epic problems like AIDS, air safety, fire safety, highway safety, smoking, drinking, toxic water supplies and the plummeting population they cause, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin would have better things to do than go around provoking wars with tiny neighbors. But it seems not. Paul Goble reports on yet another tourist advisory where Russia is concerned: Don’t drink the water!

Russia has the largest amount of fresh water of any country on earth, but much of the water coming out of taps in that country’s cities and towns contains so many harmful substances that many people there are turning to filters and bottled water, two choices that experts say do not always work as intended.

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