President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I want to congratulate you on International Women’s Day, and on this centre’s opening, of course.
I am sure that you will find this an interesting place to work. It is always a new professional step up and new impetus for specialists in any field when the chance comes along to work at a more advanced and promising level. This is all the more so for your profession, which is a noble, loving and needed labour of particular importance for our country, given the demographic situation.
Fortunately, we have succeeded in setting the trend on a positive track over these last years. No one expected or believed that our programmes to support population growth would work. I have spoken publicly about this before, but there’s no harm in saying it again now.
Regrettably, the figures did drop a little last year, but the overall demographic trend remains positive nonetheless, and this is good to see. In this respect, we are doing well compared to many so called developed countries, particularly in Europe, where negative demographic trends remain in place. We have managed to buck the trend, and this is partly thanks to the opening of centres such as this one here.
As you know, we began this work several years ago. We have built 25 centres of this kind as part of the healthcare programme, and their impact was immediately clear and was not just big, but truly colossal. This impact is linked to centres such as yours, and to the fact that, like the modern multi-profile medical centres that have opened (trauma centres, cardiology, neurosurgery and cardiovascular centres), they immediately raise the overall level of healthcare a region offers, because all other healthcare establishments take this as their benchmark and raise their level too.
You see this for yourselves, like in the room we visited just before, where you have means for communicating with the federal centres and with your districts. This creates a unified technological, scientific and professional space, integrating the entire country. This will certainly raise the overall level.
On the way here, the Governor pointed out the perinatal centre, and opposite, the hospital, which was renovated at the same time as the centre was built. That’s the effect I’m talking about, and we see this happening everywhere. One project starts, and they take the opportunity to do something else nearby at the same time, and then, seeing the results, they start getting everything else up to this general level.
As I said, 25 centres opened as part of the healthcare programme, and the results have been very good, even brilliant. In some regions, maternal mortality has dropped to zero. Just think, right down to zero! I think this was the case in Kaliningrad, isn’t that so?
Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova: Mr President, we have 25 regions where maternal mortality is now at zero.
Vladimir Putin: But to come down to zero so quickly, we never achieved such results before. Infant mortality is lower here now than in Europe. Here in the Bryansk Region, the infant mortality rate was higher than the national average. I imagine you are well aware of this fact. I hope that the opening of this perinatal centre will change this for the better.
We are financing this work primarily from federal sources, from the main part of the compulsory medical insurance system. Some regions are funding construction themselves. Overall, we already have 75 such centres working now, and we plan to open another 19 by the end of this year.
Let’s see how things develop further, and see how our budget possibilities shape up. Of course, we will do our best to continue developing this network. What did the financing come to? I think we have invested 83 billion rubles since 2013?
Veronika Skvortsova: Yes, of which 55 billion came from the compulsory medical insurance system.
Vladimir Putin: And the total came to just over 83 billion. That’s a solid figure. The financing has been going smoothly.
Ms Olga Golodets [deputy prime minister] fought for this money. (Laughter). She made sure they were properly allocated and channelled some funds earmarked for other items into this programme instead, and so we should say a separate thank you to Ms Golodets.
Once again, I congratulate you on International Women’s Day and on the start of the centre’s work.