#5 - JRL 7220
Ill-health and disability rife in Russia's declining child population
Moscow, 11 June: Only 34 per cent of children in Russia are healthy. Up to 40 per cent of new-borns have various conditions, the deputy chairman of the State Duma's committee on health and sport, Tatyana Yakovleva, said at the opening of the "Children and medication" conference today.
According to Yakovleva, 617,000 children in Russia have disabilities. The main causes of disability are diseases of the nervous system and psychiatric disorders. The education system often affects the health of schoolchildren. The total number of completely healthy children in the younger classes is no more than 8-10 per cent, and just 3-5 per cent in the older classes. The number of children with chronic illnesses increases to 20 per cent over the school years.
In all there are currently 31.5m children in Russia, which is around 20 per cent of the total population. According to the State Statistics Committee, Yakovleva said, the number of children in Russia will fall to 25m by 2005.