Scientists and Doctors Meet in Arkhangelsk to Discuss Health Preservation in the Arctic
The Conference on the Health Preservation of People Living in the Arctic took place in Arkhangelsk on 1–3 June 2022, as part of the main events of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, which are organized by the Roscongress Foundation. The conference’s business programme included 12 events, during which the participants discussed prospects for the development of healthcare in the Arctic, biomedical problems in the region, children’s health, psychological functioning aspects, and other topics.
Improving the quality of people’s lives in the Arctic zone is among Russia’s main goals in this region, Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Marat Shamyunov said. A unified action plan that includes 268 items, 21 of which are dedicated to healthcare, has been adopted to implement the development strategy. Shamyunov also proposed using the Far East’s experience to implement the Unified Subsidy programme, as part of which RUB 122 billion have been allocated since 2018, including RUB 22 billion for medicine.
For her part, Deputy Chairman of the Arkhangelsk Region Government Olesya Starzhinskaya noted that the main focuses of the unified action plan are to create conditions for the training and hiring of medical personnel, develop and approve standards to provide medical care to citizens from the Arctic, enhance telemedicine capabilities, and develop medical aviation. In addition, Starzhinskaya pointed out the need to modernize the system for providing medical care to residents of the Arctic zone.
“The traditional model of providing medical care to the population of this region is currently not effective enough, which makes it a priority to develop a new model,” she said.
An important goal for the Arctic zone is to implement a programme to modernize primary health care. Inessa Genchikova, deputy director of the Department for Monitoring, Analysis, and Strategic Health Development of the Russian Ministry of Health, said that the regions of the Arctic zone will receive RUB 48.7 billion as part of this programme by 2025. These funds will be used to build and rebuild 408 facilities of medical organizations, overhaul 326 facilities, purchase 9,978 units of medical equipment, and purchase 1,402 vehicles.
In addition, Genchikova recommended that the executive authorities of Russia’s Arctic regions, if possible, resume the planned work of medical institutions that were repurposed to help patients with COVID-19, increase the degree of medical examination coverage, ensure the efficient and uninterrupted operation of mobile teams, and provide rural health centres with staff.
The conference was held at Northern State Medical University and was attended by about 300 participants from Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The event was organized by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic, the Russian Ministry of Health, the Arkhangelsk Region Government, and Northern State Medical University. In addition, a national scientific and practical conference on the history of medicine, which was dedicated to the 350th anniversary of Peter the Great, was also held in Arkhangelsk on 1 June as part of the event.
Developing human capital and improving the people’s well-being and quality of life, including the healthcare system and medical infrastructure in the Arctic, are among the top priorities of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Russia has submitted the project ‘Biosafety in the Arctic’ to the Arctic Council’s sustainable development working group for consideration. The project aims to significantly improve the health of the population in the Arctic, among other things.
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