Origins and Destinations for Health Care: Russia
Russia is one of the largest countries in the world, a land of deserts, forests, and snow-capped mountains and of course Siberia. Russia is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Northern Pacific Ocean to the east and China and Kazakhstan to the south. Russia is also a land of diversity with dozens of ethnic groups ranging from native Russians to Ukrainians, Chechens and Armenians. Moscow is the largest city and capital of Russia, a land so large that it spans nine different time zones.
Russia is home to over 142 million people, accounting for roughly 2% of the world’s population. Russia is a land of ancient history, strife, internal and external wars and, of course, the lands of tsars, famous poets, writers, and artists. Architecture and structural design in Russia is second to none, encouraging an influx of tourists for generations to her country’s historical landmarks architectural achievements, culturally diverse foods, drink and dance.
Healthcare Environment in Russia
Despite the fact that Russia has produced a plethora of healthcare facilities, hospitals, physicians and surgeons, the healthcare delivery system and the overall health of Russians in general has declined in recent years. Russian government officials have striven to raise funds and spending for public health care, and are making small headway in this arena, though millions of Russians are still traveling beyond borders to take care of themselves and their families.
A great majority of Russians are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, one of Russia’s leading causes of death, followed closely by cancer. Millions of Russian smokers are diagnosed with smoking related diseases like lung cancer and emphysema every year and alcoholism and its related medical conditions such as liver disease is a major problem in this country. Over one million Russians die every year of heart disease, and an increase in tuberculosis is on the rise.
According to the World Health Organization, conditions such as chronic diseases, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS have placed a great burden on the health care delivery system throughout Russia. Health care reforms in the 1990s has helped improve general overall health care for Russian citizens and present health care reform government leaders have promised an influx of over 10 billion dollars in coming years to continue their healthcare delivery programs and efficiency.
Why are Russians Traveling Abroad for Treatment?
Russians are traveling for more choices when it comes to treatments, surgeries and medical care. Some of the most popular services that Russians travel to other destinations include:
- Quality healthcare not available in their own country
- The latest in technology and equipment such as robotic surgery systems and technologies,
- Access to affordable treatments and procedures
- Availability of specialized surgical procedures and technologies
- Heart specialists offering pacemakers, coronary artery bypass, angioplasty and heart valve or heart transplant
- Cancer treatment utilizing the latest drugs and treatment techniques
- Chronic disease treatment – COPD, diabetes, eating disorders, addiction treatment programs
Where are they going?
Russians are traveling westward to countries in Central Europe such as Turkey and Croatia for better care. They’re also traveling to international medical destinations such as India, South Korea, Japan and the South Pacific, including Thailand, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand for their healthcare.
What to Take with You
Russians anticipating international travel and medical care should contact the embassy of the country they wish to visit for list of requirements to obtain a passport and visa, if required by the destination country. Visas with 30-90 days access to international destinations and their requirements and any limitations may be accessed via contact with the embassy of the country the Russian citizen wishes to enter.
Contact a medical facility directly or through PlacidWay.com, a major medical resource for international medical travelers regarding options and locations for the type of medical care in which you are interested. Documents may include but are not limited to:
- Medical records – including recent treatments/procedures
- List of medications – don’t forget to mention any allergies
- Consultation or referrals from domestic health care provider
- Detailed medical history – be prepared to answer questions regarding your social history and background
Russians Traveling Abroad Should Discuss:
- Costs – determine costs of a medical travel package (accommodations, lab fees, physical exams, consultations, procedure costs) during the stay.
- Prepayment requirements – and how facilities want to be paid. Do they take cash? Will Russian travelers need to convert
- Russian rubles to foreign currencies? Will the facility take traveler’s checks or credit card payments?
- Details regarding prospective treatments – Does the facility take up-front payments or deposits?
Patients traveling abroad are encouraged to ask any questions they may have prior to booking travel or treatment arrangements in order to reduce stress and confusion. Maintain a good liaison with the medical facility you’ve chosen and keep their contact information with you throughout your journey.