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Russian Health Care Marred by Corruption

People like Karen Papiyants are at the mercy of corrupt doctors in Russia. The country has been plagued by these doctors and staff leading to a major health crisis.

Karen Papiyants lost his leg in a car accident. He is entitled to a free treatment like any other Russian but the hospital made him go through his worst nightmare. The doctor asked him to pay $ 4,500 into their St. Petersburg hospital's bank account, or be deprived proper care and perhaps not even survive.

The 37 year truck drivers family had no other option but to pay the whole amount. Scraping together the money with great difficulty they paid the whole amount. Still this did not ensure them good treatment or sevice. The nursing staff was in attentive. When the patient screamed in agony did the nurse attend to him and give him pain killers.

It's nothing but blackmail and extortion on the part of doctors," Papiyants said.

According to experts medical care in Russia is the worst in an industrialized nation, in spite of its booming economy and the government spending billions for the improvement of the health care system.

Russia with its socialist background is supposed to provide free basic medical care to its citizen. But the present practice tells a very different story according to the patients and experts. The doctors, nurses and surgeons routinely demand payments even bribes from those they treat.

A 2000 World Health Organization report ranked the country's health system 130th out of 191 countries, on a par with nations such as Peru and Honduras.

In 2004, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Russia spent $441 per capita on health care, about a fifth of what the EU spends. Over the past two years, the government has more than doubled health care spending to some $7 billion, but that still works out to only about 3.4 percent of all government spending, and the World Healt
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