Women for the Development of a Global Health Strategy

Women for the Development of a Global Health Strategy

The EWF participants discussed modern trends of healthcare development 

Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, opened the session titled ‘Women for the Development of a Global Health Strategy’. Speaking of the positive social role of women, she joyfully mentioned that Russian medicine has woman’s face: 71% of doctors and 95% of nursing staff in our country are female. 

In Russia, 16 out of 85 regional Ministers of Health are women. There are also women on boards of medical educational institutions (25.5% of rectors of medical universities in Russia are female). 

Saving lives and health lies at the core of women’s nature, the minister reminded. Unfortunately, women also prevail among the patients of medical institutions making up to 70% of them. 

What initiatives of the Ministry of Health are driven by women’s agenda? Those are primarily programmes to reduce child mortality and promote healthy lifestyle, actively supported by the highest authorities. 

Those projects have built 97 high-end perinatal centres and provided them with professional staff. In their framework, a three-level system of organising and providing medical assistance was introduced in every region of our country. Over 10 thousand state-supported in vitro fertilisation (IVF) programmes are undertaken per year with their efficiency increased up to 40%. Such reproductive technologies as cryopreservation with the subsequent conceptus transfer are actively used to protect women’s health.  

New mother-and-child medical centres around Russia are now holding educational platforms to provide further training for Russian and international doctors. 

Cancer screening programmes are launched within the sphere of health protection and early prevention of diseases. Those projects have already delivered first results. During their pregnancy and within preventing abortions, women undergo psychological tests that provided halving the number of abortions since 2011. Despite the fact that Russia is a country badly affected by HIV, the progress has been made, as increase in the number of infectees was taken under control. According to statistics, in 2015, the amount of people infected by HIV increased by 12%, while in 2017, that number rose only by 2%. Over the past 10 years, different types of genetic screening were introduced to predict various health parametres of future children as well as mechanisms of ageing. A significant amount of cochlear implantations is being conducted within a government programme. Such operations swiftly provide children with hearing to maintain the momentum of their natural development.

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Veronika Skvortsova spoke on the contribution of Russian women to global healthcare programmes. UN General Assembly adopted two Russian declarations for implementing. One of them concerns eliminating tuberculosis by 2030. 

Dr. Melita Vujnović, WHO Representative to the Russian Federation, assessed Russia’s role in establishing the concept of health. She mentioned Russia demonstrating a most interesting model of health protection within all social levels. It is well known that 80% of deaths around the world are connected to non-communicable diseases. Thus, Russia’s experience of systematic work in that direction is rather useful. For example, with regard to oncology global statistics say that lung cancer is the most common cause of female deaths in the world. However, in Russia, that rate is not that significant. 

Ms. Vujnović highlighted our country’s activity in the sphere of preventing diseases and conducting compulsory screenings. That is extremely important for preserving public health, since people, as a rule, rarely seek medical treatment on time. 

Djene Kaba Condé, the following speaker, represented Guinean healthcare. She shared with the participants about the activity of her humanitarian fund. It is acting in Guinea, which was identified as a country with the highest rates of infant mortality, child mortality, incidence of HIV and malaria in West Africa. The country’s most important issue is the lack of knowledge among population. Thus, raising awareness of hygiene rules and first aid is very efficient. Also, the fund is at least partially solving issues of lack of medical appliances and training qualified specialists. 

Dr. Condé mentioned: “Any country’s development is defined by its education and healthcare. In that regard, Russia is Guinea’s guide and privileged partner. It supports our young nation on many issues including the education of modern doctors.” 

Marina Kovtun, Governor of the Murmansk Oblast, continued the discussion of healthcare. She recalled that on March 8, 2017, Russia implemented National Strategy for Women and the plan of its actualisation. In our country, women are actively involved on senior levels, but there are only four female governors. Ms. Kovtun named professional staffing a main healthcare issue of her region. She shared about Arctic Doctor being an interesting initiative of her team. In its framework, qualified doctors sign a five-year working contract with local authorities and receive a one-time financial support in the amount of 2 million roubles, special conditions of mortgage, and a number of additional benefits and opportunities. 

Smiling, Marina Kovtun made an observation: any measures improving the quality of life in healthcare and self-actualisation are always bearing a female strategy of unity, security in society through compassion, sympathy, and support. Thus, the more women we have on senior positions, the more resilience, attention, and creativity we get. 

Lena Nanushyan, Deputy Minister of Health of Armenia, shared her country’s practices of systematic work towards non-communicable diseases. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are the main causes of death in the country. It is commonly known that those diseases are directly related to lifestyle. In that context, Armenia held a large-scale research of people’s adherence to health-detrimental behavior, smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, etc. After that, the government developed a number of systemic measures of promoting healthy lifestyle and smoking cessation. Besides, Armenia implemented measures of early detection of some diseases featuring diabetes, hypertonic disease, cervical and breast cancer. 

Since 2009, Armenian schools have introduced a healthy lifestyle programme. Such a systematic work has already brought measurable results. Thus, a reiterated independent study showed definite progress after launching a multifaceted programme to regulate and tackle unhealthy lifestyle. 

Yekaterina Gutor, head of Occupational Medicine at the Central Directorate of Healthcare of Russian Railways; Elena Belousenko, representative of insurance medicine and CEO of VTB Insurance Medicine; and Natalya Dikanskaya, representative of pharmacy, Managing Director of Janssen and Johnson & Johnson in Russia & CIS, and the head of Reproductive Health and Neurology for Merck Russia, also shared their successful practices and plans. 

Marina Spirande, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov