Disastrous Russian Hospital Visit Highlights Healthcare Decay

A young Iceland ballroom champion spoke out about horrible conditions after a hospital visit in Penza, Russia, which caused many to take a closer look at the state of healthcare in the country.

Hanna Rún Bazev Óladóttir, a 26-year-old Iceland ballroom champion, blogged and posted pictures about her experience after being rushed to a hospital in Penza, Russia, for chest pains. While reactions on social media were mixed, it nevertheless brought attention to the seemingly dire condition of the state of healthcare in rural Russia, such as the province of Penza. While access to good hospitals is mostly available in large cities like Moscow, a reported 17,500 towns and villages across Russia lack a serviceable medical infrastructure. The decaying conditions of Russia’s state hospitals include non-functioning equipment, shortage of staff, medicine and beds, as well as reports of inebriated or otherwise incapacitated professionals trying and failing to treat patients. The high incidence of such cases across the provinces has culminated in an overall 98% dissatisfaction rate with the Russian healthcare system in a Levada Center poll, and in a 2016 Bloomberg report on the efficiency of 55 national healthcare systems, Russia placed last. The government recently announced plans for stricter expenditures in healthcare for the next three fiscal years, among other deep budget cuts. —TSM

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