Adolescent health in Russia: a view from Moscow and St. Petersburg

R W Blum, L Blum, S Phillips, P Smith, G Slap
Journal of Adolescent Health 1996, 19 (4): 308-14

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to report on the current state of adolescent health in Russia.

METHODS: By means of site visits, literature review, discussions with Russian colleagues, and a scientific meeting in Moscow, data were collected on health status of youth, the organization of health services, and professional training.

RESULTS: Youth over the age of 14 are served in the adult health care system. Youth clinics are just now emerging. Substance abuse is a major issue; AIDS is rare. Rates of sexual intercourse parallel many western European countries; however, contraception is expensive by Russian standards and often not used. Those with behavioral, physical, and intellectual impairments tend to be educated in special settings and managed by psychiatrists.

CONCLUSION: The Russian health care system is undergoing radical transformation. The traditional Soviet system, with its heavy reliance on medical interventions and prolonged inpatient hospitalizations, is threatened by a lack of resources. Privatization of health care poses additional threats, as do the social transformations that are occurring. These changes create a very uncertain future for the health and well-being of youth in Russia.

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