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Vasiliy Vlassov

Vasiliy Vlassov: The Russian government tries to reduce hospitalisation rates

24 Sep, 13 | by BMJ Group

It is well known that the USSR and modern Russia have a significantly higher number of hospital beds compared to other European countries (1 225 370 hospital beds: 143 347 059 per capita, or 855 beds per 100 000 capita in Russia vs 504 hospital beds in old members of the EU). The Russian government have tried to reduce expenses in the hospital sector, but the number of beds as well as hospitalization has not reduced significantly during the past 20 years. The hospitalisation rate per 100 capita also has not reduced (21.8 in 1991 and 21.9 in 2011). more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: Psychiatry and political dissent in Russia

31 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

On 17 August 2012 the whole of Russian society was taken aback by the harsh court verdict given to three women—the members of the music group “Pussy Riot.” They entered Moscow’s Orthodox cathedral and tried to sing their “Pank Pray,” asking Mary to expel Putin.  At the time Putin was on his way to a third presidential term. Shortly after, on 6 March 2012, they were arrested and they have already spent half a year in prison. During the trial they were kept in a cabin with armoured glass and in handcuffs. You can see the full video of the sentence reading on many web sites, including here (in Russian), and a live text commentary on the Guardian. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: Tolerance

16 Apr, 12 | by BMJ

It took time to think about what happened which is why I am writing about this event a while after it occurred. The shock was hard, and I felt I needed to speak with my friends, in the hope of understanding it.

If you watch what is going in Russia you know that Russia is definitely different to other countries. The number of new billionaires keeps increasing, healthcare and education budgets are scarce, the healthcare system is irrational, expenditure on weapons is going up, there is a culture of xenophobia—specifically anti American and anti UK sentiment, and there is support for regimes like those in Libya, Iran, and Syria. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: Russia’s new healthcare law

19 Dec, 11 | by BMJ Group

President Medvedev recently signed a new healthcare law. This is the final step of enacting the legislation in Russia. It has taken 13 months to get from the first draft of the bill to it being signed in—a record length of time in Putin’s Russia, where laws usually run through the legislators’ house in a couple of months. The law was delayed because the draft was of low quality. The industry, physicians’ organisations, and patients’ unions all opposed many wrongly formulated, or senseless articles of the law. The text of the law was changed substantially, but not only in the interests of patients and the medical profession. The law is controversial and outdated in many ways. For example, the law initially states that healthcare interventions will only be provided after informed consent is given by the patient. But the article about terminal care explicitly forbids the discontinuation of interventions if a patient asks for it. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: Russian women’s reproductive rights in grave danger

16 Aug, 11 | by BMJ Group

Vasiliy VlassovAccording to current Russian law, women can ask for an elective abortion up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. Between 12 and 22 weeks, an abortion can only be made on the basis of medical or so called “social” indications laid out by the government. Over the years, the government has dramatically decreased the number of reasons that women can qualify for a late abortion. For instance they have eliminated the right to perform a second trimester abortion if the parents are both unemployed. This has been done under the pronatalist pretext, though in practice the share of abortions made for medical or social reasons has never risen much higher than 2% and 3% of all abortions respectively. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: The weekly rhythm of deliveries in Russia

11 Mar, 11 | by BMJ Group

Vasiliy VlassovStudies of biological rhythms used to be very popular. A quick check on Medline showed me that in 1964-1973, 2/10 000 publications were related to biorhythm studies and in 2001-2010 there were more – 8/10 000. The spectrum of publications is slowly changing in the collection reflected in Medline, but the number of studies of biorhythms is at least not decreasing. This is bad news for me as I do not actively do research in this field now. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: Obstetrics and child care in Central Asia

8 Feb, 11 | by BMJ

Vasiliy VlassovBefore Christmas I participated in an educational event for obstetricians and perinatologists from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. It was arranged by GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) as part of their project in the region.

Over the past few years, Central Asia has become the area for testing new approaches. First all the funding from donors was collected in one fund for coordinated technical assistance in healthcare development. Next USAID and GTZ initiated projects which are going to last for longer than before – each project is 9 years long. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: In the name of Pirogov

17 Dec, 10 | by BMJ Group

Vasiliy VlassovRecently Russia celebrated the 200th birthday of Nikolay Pirogov. He is one of Russia’s most esteemed physicians, famous for his surgical skills and teaching, research in clinical anatomy, and especially for using “ice anatomy” — sections of frozen cadavers. He is also well known for carrying out experiments with ether anaesthesia, at the same time as the first experiments were done across the Atlantic. He was probably the first surgeon who used ether as an anaesthetic on the battle field and introduced many new technologies to the Crimean war. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov on a Russian medical conference without pharma support

28 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Vasiliy VlassovFour hundred years ago on European maps the land that became Russia was called “Tartaria.” Now Tatarstan is a national republic in the Russian Federation. It is small by Russian standards — the size of Netherlands — economically stable, and has an educated population. Recently a conference took place at the local Medical Academy entitled QIQUM – Quality information for quality use of medicines. more…

Vasiliy Vlassov: WHO in Moscow

1 Oct, 10 | by BMJ Group

Vasiliy VlassovWHO-Europe had its big meeting in Moscow this month. It was an amazing mixture of bureaucratic exercises, real health care politics, and interaction with local events. You may not find the details of this meeting on the WHO website, but if you wonder what it was about you may go to see the programme buried here along with wonderful documents like this major paper for the session “Addressing key public health and health policy challenges in Europe” – filled with the right words but making almost no sense, in my humble opinion. more…

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