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British Defense Ministry: Russia faces doctor shortage, recruits from Africa with minimal credential checks

Up to 2 % of Russian doctors and healthcare professionals left Russia to avoid the draft.
Credit: Ria Novosti, a Kremlin controlled Russian news outlet
British Defense Ministry: Russia faces doctor shortage, recruits from Africa with minimal credential checks

The British Defense Ministry reported on 8 April that Russia is facing a shortage of healthcare professionals, with the number of doctors in the country declining by an estimated 7,500 over the past 15 months as of January 2024.

The British Defense Ministry reported, citing the chairman of Russia’s State Duma, that there was a shortage of 30,000 doctors, with district hospitals facing a shortage of approximately 50 %. This number represents an increase from the 26,500 shortage reported in November 2023.

“Some medical staff are working in the private sector, and others have left the country,” the State Duma chairman said. After the September 2022 mobilization of the Russian military, doctors were explicitly warned not to leave the country, with estimates suggesting up to 2 % of Russian doctors and healthcare professionals had fled to avoid the draft.

The Centre for European Policy Analysis reports that Russia has been recruiting from African nations to address this shortage, with little qualification validation apart from a self-certifying declaration.

“The major resource and financial commitment of supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine is negatively affecting a range of civilian sectors that serve the Russian population,” the UK Defense Ministry reported. “The numbers of healthcare professionals in Russia will continue to decrease throughout 2024.”

The UK Defense Ministry also reported that “externally sourcing medical staff with limited checks on qualifications creates the potential for clinical delivery degradation” in Russia.

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