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Longevity formula from South Urals

Longevity formula from South Urals

22.08.2014 — Analysis

High-tech healthcare plus healthy lifestyle.

The underlying message of the Strategy for Development of the South Urals till 2020 is to increase life expectancy from 69 to 74 years. The main objective is to help the residents of the Chelyabinsk Region not only to live longer, but also to retain their vigor and willingness to keep abreast of the times.

Demographers forecast that the population of Russia will be ageing rapidly in the near future. The Chelyabinsk Region is going to join the trend. In five years, the senior residents will account for more than 20%. In view of the forecast, the regional authorities see a 5-year increase in the life expectancy as the focal point of the social policy.

"The core goal of the social part of our Strategy is to increase life expectancy from 69 to 74 years by 2020. Undoubtedly, in addition to the healthcare, the promotion of health lifestyle, regular exercise and environment is of great importance. Yet, the significance of healthcare cannot be overestimated," Boris Dubrovsky, the acting Governor of the Chelyabinsk Region, pointed out.

The federal program of healthcare development is one of the essential elements of the upgrading of the sector. The reform carried out in the region resulted in establishment of a three-level system of medical assistance: the primary healthcare – medical and sanitary examinations; specialized medical assistance – interdistrict specialist centers; high-tech healthcare – regional clinics.

At the first level, preventive health care is a task of high priority. Since 2013 the medical examination of the population has become almost mandatory. As of today, approximately 700 thousand residents of the South Urals have had their health checked through preventive examination. Thanks to these measures, the detection rate of diseases at early stages has increased from 5% (the Soviet time statistics) to 14%. Medical professionals were able to timely identify more than two thousand malignant neoplasms. As a result, the people diagnosed with cancer were given a realistic chance to be cured and to live a productive life.

"Industrial companies adopted medical examinations long ago, and they are compulsory for all the employees. From my experience of being the director, I know that such measures save hundreds of millions of rubles to companies. The rural population is more conservative: Only about 60% of the residents have had their health checked through medical examinations. We should decide what we can do to reach the 100% target," Boris Dubrovsky noted.

At present, more than 670 thousand people live in the villages in the South Urals. In the opinion of the acting governor of the Chelyabinsk Region, the people should be motivated so that they would go through preventive examinations on their own initiative.

Today, there are 56 outpatient clinics, 622 medical assistance and obstetrics stations, 148 general practitioners’ offices in rural settlements and villages of the region. The problem of staffing shortfall is more pressing here than in large cities.

The program "Rural Doctor" is one of the ways to attract recent graduates to rural areas. Medical workers under 35 received one million rubles as relocation allowance when they moved to villages. In total, 222 medical professionals have started working in rural areas over one year, RusBusinessNews informs.

Specialized medical assistance is provided at the second level of the healthcare system. Interdistrict medical centers offer services to patients from neighboring villages and towns. These hospitals having several departments under their wing – from surgery to obstetrics departments, were the first to be renovated and reequiped.

Finally, high-tech healthcare is available at regional clinics, which have highly skilled specialists and the latest equipment.

"We have regional cardiovascular centers, primary cardiovascular centers where patients having specific disorders are admitted. When a large number of people go through regular medical check-ups, the death rates due to diseases of the circulatory system are much lower," Sergey Kremlev, the acting Health Minister of the South Urals, said.

The collaboration among clinics of different levels is well developed. The Chelyabinsk regional children’s clinical hospital can serve as an example of such successful cooperation. The Chelyabinsk regional children’s hospital has a video-monitoring system that helps to observe the physical condition and functional parameters of seriously ill patients. The unique equipment operating in the online mode helps physicians to monitor the condition of patients who are in Troitsk, Korkino, Kopeisk, Asha, Chebarkul, Satka and Zlatoust.

This year the Chelyabinsk Region has received the first federal tranche in the amount of 936 million rubles to build a new perinatal center. It will accommodate 130 patient beds and will be located at the site of the Medical Center in Chelyabinsk. It will have 12 separate delivery rooms, the Mother and Child post-natal department and neonatal intensive care unit. Due to the high-tech assistance, the infant and maternal and mortality will decrease considerably.

"The infant survival rate is increasing due to prompt transportation of newborns to specialized intensive care units, as the performance of the neonatal emergency and advisory mobile teams is steadily improving," S. Kremlev noted.

In total, in 2010–2013 more than 15.5 billion rubles was invested in the South Ural healthcare under the program of healthcare upgrading. The funds were used for remodeling of 66 hospitals, for purchasing 6,753 items of medical equipment and 11 mobile intensive care units for providing emergency medical assistance.

Besides, the private healthcare will move to the new level. One of the breakthrough reforms in this sector will be participation of non-state owned hospitals in the system of compulsory health insurance (OMS).

Chelyabinsk has already embarked on work with zeal. The capital of the South Urals will have emergency medical service provided by a private clinic. The outpatient clinic will be opened soon for residents of the Topolinaya Alley District. The fee for the services will be covered by insurance.

"We continue negotiating with private institutions regarding their participation in medical assistance under the municipal agreements. The assistance is required, first of all, by children and senior citizens who are not able to pay for services at commercial rates," Sergey Davydov, the head of the Chelyabinsk administration, stated.

The Strategy for Development of the Chelyabinsk Region till 2020 is not limited to the healthcare reform. It includes plans to increase salaries more than by half. Another issue on the front burner is housing. In 5 years the average residential space per person living in the South Urals will be 30 square meters. 

"The social policy component represents an integrated program for comprehensive development of the social sector. It includes healthcare, education and science, culture, social services, physical exercises and sports. The investment will be made in people, in development of their capabilities," Boris Dubrovsky, head of the Chelyabinsk Region, pointed out.

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