What NGOs would like from new Russian Government
Expectations from new Government Ministers: What NGOs would like to see
On 21 January, the composition of the new Russian Government was announced which included new heads of Ministries responsible for social policy. Our ASI correspondent has been asking NGO representatives what issues they’re expecting these new Ministers to deal with initially.
That same day, Vladimir Putin signed an Order on the new Russian Government:
The new head of the Ministry of Health is Mikhail Murashko, former boss of the Federal Service for Supervision in Healthcare; Valery Falkov, former rector of Tyumen State University is now in charge of the Ministry of Science and Education; Anton Kotyakov, ex-Deputy Finance Minister, now heads the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, with Olga Lyubimova, Director of the Department of Cinematography, in charge of the Ministry of Culture.
Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health to develop palliative care and healthcare standards and make specialists available in remote villages.
“Our biggest concern is the lack of qualified doctors who can help and support a patient showing early signs of dementia and assist them if anything goes wrong. This is an issue that relatives of dementia patients have been regularly raising with us. They want a doctor on hand who can recognise the early signs of dementia, prescribe the necessary treatment and monitor their condition”, said Alexandra Shchetkina, President of the “AlzRus” Foundation.
Shchetkina also stressed that these specialists were needed in towns and villages as well as large cities as it is not always possible to wait for a doctor from a regional centre to arrive.
“The palliative care story must go on. We are so very pleased that this work is underway and being promoted. Many of our charges have already benefitted from this treatment thanks to our colleagues from the “Faith” charity” via their “Pro-palliative hotline”, said Shchetkina. She also added that mobile palliative care services should also continue to be developed as many wards are in need of help at home.
According to Nyuta Federmesser, founder of the “Faith” charity which provides hospice care, implementing joint projects won’t be a problem with Mikhail Murashko as Health Minister as he has already worked as a volunteer at the Palliative Care and Hospice Centre.
“We are still waiting for recommendations on medical care and clinical advice standards to emerge from the Ministry because our children are in need of help and support is extremely fragmented”, said Elena Meshcheryakova, founder and director of the “Fragile people” charity that provides help for patients suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta, to the ASI.
“We are still waiting for the opportunity to treat children under the compulsory medical insurance system and for the State to fulfil their obligations enshrined under our Constitution. I hope that the relevant clause in it remains unchanged. I would like all the rehab standards which were agreed last year to be functioning effectively and for there to be a quota for high-tech medical care for fragile children because as we still don’t have a rehab system – we pay for it with money donated by kind-hearted and generous people. We would very much like our country to be able to treat its children without having to raise money on TV”, said Meshcheryakova.
Tatyana Golikova, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, said on the Rossiya 24 TV channel on 22 January that “adequate” provision had been made for children’s health care, adding that the issue was a Government priority.
Ministry of Culture
The Ministry to grant right to freedom of speech, including in the theatre.
“One often has to face the fact that the State has an influence on the artist’s right of expression. He or she speaks within the confines of the law but the State either promotes its own personal agenda or interferes with what it doesn’t like. If we pay our taxes, the State must support us. Government officials shouldn’t be able to decide what’s good or bad. We already have a Criminal Code so talking about what is moral or immoral is really unnecessary”, said Konstantin Kozhevnikov, head of the Storytelling Theatre, to the ASI.
Ministry of Labour
The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to be asked to continue with its long-term care programme.
“I was able to see a number of the programme’s results and was impressed”, Alexandra Shchetkina told the ASI. “I was in Kostroma recently and saw a high-quality day care centre in action. It would be a great help if such places started to gradually appear in cities. They really work and we cooperate very openly with one another within the long-term care system”.
At a TASS press conference held on 22 January, Grigori Lekarev, Deputy Federal Minister of Labour, stated that the Ministry was also considering raising the benefit amount for those who care for people with disabilities living at home. He said that such a move would be a “fair” way of supporting those who carry out this role as providing such care in many ways removes the need for inpatient treatment. The Ministry has already started a series of training programmes for them.
Ministry of Education
Two proposals have been received from the “Lifestyle” Foundation for the Development of Professional Charity in Russia for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education through the ASI.
“In our view, one of the most important social issues related to modern-day education is the introduction of inclusive practices in mainstream education organisations. In most cases, this is achieved without any meaningful goal-setting or the involvement of qualified professionals and with little or no work with the parent community. This can lead to conflict, as well as the formalisation of work with children who have disabilities, particularly students with mental illnesses”, said Olga Stukalova, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences and Adviser to the Director of the “Lifestyle” Foundation, to the ASI.
Stukalova has also noticed the steady growth of volunteerism in schools and universities. However, she feels this often amounts to volunteers “playing out the role of handing out flyers and filling halls”.
“Volunteering should be an integral part of educational activities in schools and universities. This would require the introduction of volunteerism courses as part of training programmes for students with different specialties, particularly future teachers. Professional development sessions for teachers in this field and the integration of volunteer movement programmes in schools are also needed. NGOs have considerable expertise in this area”, said Stukalova.