Russia: Survey of attitudes to medical CSOs

Almost half of Russians expect medical CSOs to monitor institutions and protect their rights – according to a HSE survey

But only 16% of respondents recognised the work carried out by CSOs in the healthcare sector as relevant.


The Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) conducted a survey among more than 2000 Russians over the age of 18 to provide insight into what they think about the public health situation and the work of specialised non-profit organisations.


According to the survey (available to the Agency for Social Information), 42% of Russians rated the condition of the public health sector as bad. 43% of respondents said it was satisfactory, and 13% said it was good. Despite the low number of those who rate the condition of the sector in Russia as good, in the last 10 years the percentage has more than doubled from 5% in 2013.


Almost half (47%) of respondents believe that the country’s healthcare sector needs non-profit organisations more than any other sector. However, only 16% of them believe that medical CSOs carry out relevant work.


In response to the question ‘What exactly can non-profit organisations and social initiatives do to help improve the healthcare situation?’, 85% of respondents suggested a specific course of action. Only 7% were certain that CSOs cannot improve the situation.


  • 48% of respondents expect non-profit organisations operating in the healthcare sector to monitor the work of medical institutions.
  • 46% believe that the CSOs should protect patients’ rights.
  • 26% think that CSOs can attract volunteers to the sector.
  • 25% of respondents believe that CSOs can provide public health services to the population themselves.


Slightly fewer respondents said that medical CSOs can be useful in informing the public about the quality of hospitals and clinics (23%) and in collecting donations for the healthcare sector (20%).


Irina Mersiyanova, Director of the Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the National Research University HSE, said that the researchers asked the same questions to the non-profit organisations themselves. They, in turn, consider the protection of patients’ rights to be their main objective, followed by the sharing of information about the quality of work of medical institutions and finally, the monitoring of institutions that respondents expected of them.


“In addition, the contribution of the sector is generally more visible from inside the sector itself. The heads of CSOs, especially those related to healthcare, are more often likely to note that the non-profit organisations are carrying out relevant work in this sector. In general, the response from the CSO leaders on the condition of the public health sector is slightly more neutral than that of the general public (50% of CSO leaders consider healthcare to be satisfactory, 36% to be bad and 9% to be good), but not by very much”, Irina Mersiyanova explained.


According to Mersiyanova, CSOs generally play an important role in the accessibility, quality, and equality of healthcare, and can provide healthcare in places where it is either difficult to get access to or not available at all.






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