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State of Decay; Russia's Death and Disease Rates Are Soaring as Birth Rate Plummets
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Lee, Hockstader
Date: Mar 7, 1994
Start Page: a.01
Section: A SECTION

Dov Chernichovsky, an Israeli health policy expert working in Moscow, wrote recently: "Russia has inherited a health system that would have required substantial reform... even if all other economic and political circumstances had remained unchanged. The current transition period, with harsh economic and budgetary consequences, presents serious risks of even further deterioration in the state of the health system and of the health of the population."

Moreover, Russia does not have enough drugs and medicine, and what is available has become quite expensive. The financial and supply problems that have sapped nearly every Russian industry also have devastated the pharmaceutical sector. Russia produced 12 percent fewer drugs last year than in the previous year and, in terms of value, imported just half the drugs as it did in 1992. Last year, just 60 percent of the medicines needed were available nationwide. Hospitals and drugs often lack even commonplace medicines.

Nonetheless, Chernichovsky, the Israeli expert, noted that Russia already has huge numbers of doctors and an enormous and largely accessible network of hospitals and clinics. The problem, he said, is not a shortage of resources.

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