Staunton, Nov. 8 – During 2021, the second year of the pandemic, the mortality rate among Russian mothers rose by 300 percent, that among infants by 1.8 percent, and that among children by five percent, according to a newly released Rosstat statistical compilation, The Family and Children in Russia (rosstat.gov.ru/storage/mediabank/Semia_i_deti_2021.pdf).
At least some of the dramatic rise in mortality rates among women may have been the result of immunization shots against covid rather than the disease itself, Yevgeny Chernyshev of the Nakanune news agency says. Pregnant women were not supposed to get the shots but apparently some did (nakanune.ru/articles/119807/).
Perhaps even more worrisome is the statistical agencies finding that cancer among children has continued to increase, up 180 percent since 2010. As a result, “almost 30,000” Russian children have tumors, including “more than 6,000” under the age of five. What that means is that every 1,000th Russian child now has cancer.
This likely reflects both environmental factors, but dealing with it is going to be beyond the current capacity of the country’s optimized medical system. But it also reflects behavioral changes. Between 2016 and 2020, Rosstat says, the share of youths who participate in sports fell from 49 percent to 40 percent.
The Russian state statistical agency also reported that the number of children classified as “invalids” has jumped by 18 percent over the last decade and now has reached 638,000. That means that every 40th Russian child – 2.5 percent of all – is an invalid; and recent statements by government officials suggest their number is continuing to rise.
But the report also provides insights into the impact of poverty on Russian life. Consumption of milk products in families with children fell by four percent between 2015 and 2020, and consumption of fats, also needed for children to have a healthy life, declined over the same period by ten percent.