The Russian Child Health Care System

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We present a historical and analytical overview of the Russian child health care system describing strengths and challenges of the system. Main indicators of social environment and children's health, general demographics, and socioeconomic factors of Russia are described. The Russian health care system has preserved positive elements of the former Soviet model of pediatric care. However, beginning in 1991, it has been altered greatly in its funding and management. The child health care system is composed of a special network of outpatient and inpatient facilities. The key element of pediatric community care is the pediatric polyclinic, staffed by district pediatricians and nurses. Undergraduate pediatric training is separate from adult medical training. From day one onward, future pediatricians are trained at separate pediatric faculties of universities. Thus, they qualify as general pediatricians after only 2 years of postgraduate training. It should be emphasized that the gap between the health status of children in developed countries and the Russian Federation is largely due to the influence of socioeconomic determinants, such as traffic accidents, poverty, pollution, and hazardous life styles, including binge drinking. Further improvements of children's health require protective measures by the state to address the underlying socioeconomic determinants.

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