Globalization has affected different aspects of life through the elimination of trade barriers and increased mobility of capital and labor. These changes have affected the political and economic landscapes of countries that have embraced it. Similar to how it has changed the economic landscape, globalization has also changed health outcomes in different parts of the world (depending on how different countries embrace it) (Demin, 2006). This paper focuses on how globalization has changed public health in Russia. It also compares its health outcomes with similar indices in the United States (US).
Effects of Globalization on Public Health in Russia
Globalization has had both negative and positive effects on Russia. On one hand, it has increased the rate of infectious diseases in Russia, but on the other hand, globalization has improved health practices in Russia by introducing western forms of medicine that have improved the quality of life and increased the country’s capabilities to manage infectious diseases (mostly through research and development) (Demin, 2006). This analysis shows that globalization has affected health outcomes in the former Soviet republic.
Changes in Quality of Life in Post-Transition Russia
Before Russia abandoned communism, its standard of living was low (Demin, 2006). More so, there was a significant decline in the quality of health care services during the communist era. For example, the life expectancy had reduced from 64 years to 57 years during this period (CIA, 2014). Furthermore, during this time, alcohol-related deaths and the incidence of infectious diseases increased by 60% and 100% respectively (Demin, 2006). However, things have changed in post-transition Russia. The country has better health outcomes. For example, life expectancy has increased to about 69 years (CIA, 2014).
The infant mortality rate has also reduced from 50.0 to 10.0 (CIA, 2014). Health care standards have also improved in post-transition Russia because health care facilities today uphold high sanitary standards and focus more on providing quality health care services (Stuckler, King, & McKee, 2009).
Changes in Mortality in a Post-Transition Russia
Lifestyle patterns affect mortality rates in Russia. Perlman and Bobak (2008) say Russia has among the highest mortality rates of an industrialized nation that is not at war. There are more deaths than births. For example, in 2000, there were 1,266,000 births and 2,230,000 deaths (Demin, 2006). However, the alarming mortality rate is a recent phenomenon. In the 1960s, Russia had almost the same mortality rate as the USA did. This pattern changed in the mid-1960s when Russia’s life expectancy declined, as the same index increased in the US (Demin, 2006). Today, Russia still experiences many lifestyle problems that contribute to its high mortality rate. For example, alcohol abuse, smoking, and violence contribute to a high mortality rate among young people (Averina et al., 2005).
Comparison of Russia and the USA (Globalization Influence on Public Health)
Before the 1960s, Russia had almost similar health outcomes to the US. It enjoyed an organized public health care system that catered to everybody’s needs. However, in the mid-1960s, this system collapsed and America overtook it by having favorable health indicators (Demin, 2006). Most of the effects of communism still linger today. For example, compared to the US, Russia has a low life expectancy (69 years).
Comparatively, the US has a life expectancy of 78.74 years (CIA, 2014). This pattern also exists in infant mortality rates because the US has an infant mortality rate of 6.1, while Russia has an infant mortality rate of 10.0 (CIA, 2014). However, these figures show improved health indicators for Russia and the US alike because these health outcomes were worse during the 1950s and beyond. Particularly, Russia has benefitted from this development by adopting western medicine, which has lowered its infant mortality rates and increased its life expectancy (Demin, 2006).
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Perlman, F., & Bobak, M. (2008). Socioeconomic and behavioral determinants of mortality in post-transition Russia: A prospective population study. Annals of Epidemiology, 18(2), 92–100.
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