Russia Makes List of Unwelcome Diseases
April 14, 2003
Russia's Health Ministry is still deciding how to enforce the new rules related to a recent government list of unwelcome diseases, according to doctors and lawyers. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov recently signed an order identifying diseases considered a national threat, which could be grounds for revoking foreigners' work and residency permits. Named in the order are: HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, chancroid, leprosy and TB.Adapted from:
The Health Ministry must now decide whether foreigners should be tested regularly or just when renewing a work or residency permit, said attorney Sergei Stefanishin. The ministry must determine which clinics will be authorized to test foreigners and what to do with those who get tested outside of Russia, which could cause a problem in some countries due to patient confidentiality, Stefanishin added.
Albert Bryan, a family doctor with the American Medical Center in Moscow, said that physicians already report cases of HIV, TB and leprosy to the government. However, Bryan was unsure if doctors would be required to report other diseases on the new list because they can be quickly cured. "I think that if a doctor says a case is healed, it's healed and they are not going to make a big deal of it," said Bryan.
Special representative of the World Health Organization in Russia Mikko Vienonen said that the list is not in the spirit of the WHO, but added that Russia certainly has the right to draft such a measure. According to government figures, Russia has very high rates of STDs, with the latest figures for syphilis being 187 cases per 100,000 people. This number is about 100 times higher than in West European countries. "When it comes to TB and HIV, chlamydia and syphilis and all that, the biggest danger in Russia are the Russians themselves," said Vienonen. "Foreigners are not the major sources of any of this."
04.10.03; Robin Munro