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#1a - JRL 2009-121 - JRL Home
[excerpt]
www.Kremlin.ru
June 30, 2009
Beginning of [Medvedev] Meeting with Minister of Public Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova
June 30, 2009

Gorki, Moscow Region

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Now, lets talk about a more fundamental, important issue.

TATYANA GOLIKOVA: But a very pleasant one, since we have some very positive results.

DMITRY MEDVDEV: Oh, really?

TATYANA GOLIKOVA: I can report that just yesterday, we received five months worth of data. 135 thousand babies were born in May: this is two percent higher than during the same period last year. Over five months, we saw the birth of 699.9 thousand babies: this is three percent higher than last year, so thats positive. And this is a trend that has been observed over the course of the last several months. We have had a 28.3 percent decrease in mortality compared to the same period last year. The key factor causing this decrease in mortality was a 13 percent drop in deaths caused by road accidents. There was also a decrease, observed just recently, in the number of cardiovascular deaths, although it is only a 5 percent decrease. Nonetheless, this is a positive trend.

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the projects we began last year in 12 territories, aimed at decreasing cardiovascular and traffic accident mortality rates, are actually working. I must say that these two programmes, as well as the oncological programme we are starting this year, are quite needed in the regions, since they involve not only financial investments and medical equipment upgrade, but also relevant personnel re-training and a totally different organisation of providing medical assistance, which is very important. This is the reorganisation that yields the results that I have just reported to you.

I must also tell you about another indicator that I find to be good: during those five months, there was an increase in the number of marriages in Russia.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: That is indeed a good indicator.

TATYANA GOLIKOVA: We had 6.1 percent more marriages than during the same period last year. The number of divorces decreased by eleven thousand, or 3.7 percent. Thus, despite our difficult financial and economic circumstances, we expect to see the continuation of a positive trend in birth rates. Still, this is a matter of great concern to everyone, and we are monitoring it very carefully.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: But this is very good news. It means that even from a psychological standpoint, our people, in getting married, feel that crises come and go, but families need to be created. This is very good information and good data.

Overall, what you are telling me proves that the direction we chose several years ago, namely the National Project on Health, is yielding favourable, positive results.

Tomorrow, we will have a meeting of the Council for National Projects. We will continue discussing this issue: we will talk about the demographics and the factors youve mentioned. I feel that we need to begin talking about the other factors, which we have been discussing less. In particular, I am referring to the bad habits of which we have many: smoking, drug addiction, and especially alcohol, as the detrimental effects of alcohol in our country are colossal. I was quite surprised to learn that as a nation, we are drinking more now than we did in the 1990s, despite the fact that those were very difficult years. This is another matter that should be discussed and addressed through corresponding programmes, and perhaps, certain measures.

TATYANA GOLIKOVA: Ok. We have already launched this process. And now, we have announced tenders for programmes to encourage a healthy way of life. We are working on this project in close cooperation with the Ministry of Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Education and Science, relying on the particular areas of expertise that each ministry brings to the table.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This work needs to be done, and later, we will hold a substantial meeting on this issue at a presidential level to make decisions.