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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article analyzes the social reasons behind the deterioration of Russians’ health: the lack of health-positive ideology, a warped approach to disease prevention, the need for encouraging the disabled to feel responsible for their own well-being, and the lack of a healthcare education system. We demonstrate that Russia does not have a health-positive ideology, in that society and individuals are accustomed to associating health with medicine alone, while in actuality, human health is also influenced by the workplace environment, living conditions, leisure activities, education level (if any), and the specific features of upbringing and behavior. Therefore, social policy on healthcare is, at best, focusing on improving the quality of healthcare services rather than on raising awareness of proper self-care and hygiene among the public, promoting a self-preserving mindset (including environmental consciousness), or making certain that individuals and social institutions have optimal interactions in the healthcare sphere. Disease prevention, as it is approached today, does not yield any notable results, because Russians are treating it irresponsibly due to a poor health culture. Individuals are expected to be passive players in the healthcare arena; they are not used to bearing responsibility for their own health. This has been caused by the peculiar attitude to health that was fostered in Russians as the social norm in the decades before: people were led to believe that their health would be cared for by the government. We have managed to single out two main approaches to health. The first approach is focused primarily on a person’s “own effort” to preserve their health; whereas the second approach is focused on the “circumstances of life”, pushing individual effort into the background. Russia lacks an education system that would teach its citizens to care for their health. The need for such a system has become especially obvious over the past decades, as the Russian population is forced to challenge the existing mindset and behavior stereotypes. We have also analyzed the issues of managing healthcare. We deem it advisable to create an interdepartmental government-level structure that could help overcome the disconnection between the government bodies. This structure ought to be tasked with designing comprehensive solutions for healthcare problems in all lifestyle aspects.
health, prevention, responsibility for health, health care education