Slow progress on maternity care (in Russia)

Anna Sulimina – The Moscow News – Friday, 4 March, 2011 (originally published 3 March)

Moscow newborn and mother
Image: © RIA Novosti. Sergey Venyavsky

As Russia grapples with its demographic crisis, the government has identified improving healthcare at state maternity clinics as a key priority.

Officials insist there have been some successes, of course – but without extra funding and a more modern attitude towards childbirth, experts fear that help will be too long in coming.

The government has pledged to spend 1.6 trillion roubles by 2016 on improving the birth rate, and last year 1.79 million babies were born in the country. Since 2006 the birth rate has increased by 23 per cent, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov reported last week, while in the last five years infant mortality among newborn babies fell by 32 per cent, and deaths of women in childbirth have fallen by 13.4 per cent. . .

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