Saturday, November 18, 2023

Russian Budget Cuts for Healthcare ‘a National Catastrophe,’ Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 16 – The Duma is set to approve a Russian government budget for 2024 that will reduce spending on healthcare by 10 percent in nominal terms and  by far more than that when inflation is taken into account. The cuts will hit rural hospitals, medical points and doctors especially hard and experts are already saying that this will lead to “a national catastrophe.”

            These cuts mean, taken to boost spending on the war in Ukraine, Aleksey Kurinny, a member of the Duma’s healthcare committee, that there “will not be any increase in the pay of doctors or any new infrastructure” and that construction of new cancer and perinatal centers will stop (

            That will in turn mean that more people will die because they will not receive treatment early on when their conditions are easiest to address and many of them may even die, exacerbating Russia’s already dire demographic situation. Mikhail Delyagin, another deputy, says this is virtually “a national catastrophe.”

            According to Vasily Vlasov, an HSE expert on healthcare, the looming destruction of medical points in rural areas threatens the survival of many Russian villages. Their disappearance will mean that “life there will cease, and for many, [such institutions] are the symbol of the state in rural areas.”

            But it is not only rural Russians who will suffer. Urban ones suffering from diseases like cancer are going to find under the conditions of the new budgetary regime that they will have to bear more or even all of the costs of treating themselves. Those who can’t afford to do so have few prospects, Vasily Vlasov, a Russian oncologist, says.

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