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Journals from Russia 2009

2009-01-18 A Glimpse at Pediatric Care in Russia

During our stay in Yaroslavl, we visited a pre-birthing and pediatric "polyclinic." This clinic was only for the care of pregnant women and children up to 18 years of age in that specific district. We were very impressed with what we saw there. We started out by having a conversation with several physicians and nurses. They answered the questions we had about pediatric care in Russia. Mothers receive informational classes and exercise therapy to prepare for the birthing process. Once a child is born, they receive care once a month until they are one year of age and then every six months for several years. There are physician-nurse pairs who are responsible for children in a certain area of the district. The nurse does home visits and schedules appointments when necessary. They try to ensure that all of the children receive their immunizations when necessary and they make recommendations about their environment and nutrition. After the meeting, we got to tour the facility. It was far beyond what you would see in an American pediatric center. The children received many alternative therapies to improve their health. These included teaching the children to swim from the time they are infants, hydrotherapy (which we will include a picture of later), speech therapy before they can even speak, massage therapy, exercise therapy, etc. There were toys to improve their motor coordination as well as stimulate their brain development. The facility had mini, colorful exercise equipment including treadmills and stationary bikes. Russia has a major problem of a decreasing population. This is due to increasing death rates and also decreasing birth rates. We see care like this as a step in the right direction to solve that problem. It helps to increase birth rates as well as ensure that the population is healthy. You cannot have a healthy population if you don't start with the children. -Courtney Smith & Jennifer Traylor

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