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Paediatrics in Russia: past, present and future
  1. Alexander Baranov,
  2. Leyla Namazova-Baranova,
  3. Valery Albitsky,
  4. Natalia Ustinova,
  5. Rimma Terletskaya,
  6. Olga Komarova
  1. Federal State Autonomous Institution ‘National Scientific and Practical Center of Children’s Health’ of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Natalia Ustinova, 119991, Federal State Autonomous Institution “National Scientific and Practical Center of Children’s Health” of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Lomonosovsky av.2, Moscow, Russia; ustinova{at}

Statistics from

Russia is the largest country in the world, with an area spanning more than 17 million km2. Her population, according to the official statistics (as of 1 January 2014), is 143 666 931 people (which is the ninth place in the world). Children under the age of 18 make for approximately 19.1% of Russia’s population (27  374 352). This population is spread extremely unevenly over her huge territory: 72.2% of Russians live in the European part of the country, which comprises only 25% of the whole territory.1 The Moscow region has the highest population density among all other regions, with more than 4626 persons/km2. The least density belongs to the Chukotka Autonomous Region, with less than 0.07 persons/km2.

Evolution of the Russian child care system: from the Russian Empire to modern days

The Russian child care system has been supported by state and private contributions since the times of monarchy. The state’s first steps towards building a childhood and motherhood protection system date back to the 18th century when the first orphanages appeared by the orders of Empress Catherine II (1763 in Moscow and 1770 in St Petersburg). These orphanages had their own hospitals where the children received medical treatment.2 3

The drive behind the formation of the system of mothers and children care was the struggle for reducing child mortality rates, which was named as one of the most important Russian social issues in the late 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century.4 High mortality rates were largely due to poor social, cultural and economic conditions.

Russian paediatrics has always been an integral part of world science and practice. For example, Karl Martens was the first chief doctor of the Moscow foundling hospital, and saved the wards from the plague epidemic of 1771–1773. His treatise on this subject (published in Paris in 1784) had a big impact on the medical …

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