Section : Medical Facilities
Medical care is usually far below western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies. Access to the few quality facilities that exist in major cities usually requires cash payment at western rates upon admission. The U.S. embassy and consulates maintain lists of such facilities and English-speaking doctors. Many resident Americans travel to the west for medical needs. Such travel can be very expensive if undertaken under emergency conditions. Travelers should check their insurance coverage and purchase supplemental coverage for medical evacuation. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk.Information on appropriate health precautions can be obtained from local health departments or private doctors. General guidance can also be found in the U.S. Public Health Service book, "Health Information For International Travel," available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. 20402.Tourists in frail health are strongly advised not to visit Russia because of the harsh conditions and lack of adequate medical facilities.Outbreaks of diphtheria have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend up-to-date diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to travel extensively in the region. Cases of cholera have also been reported throughout the area. Drinking bottled water can reduce the risk of exposure to cholera. Tuberculosis and HIV have been an increasing source of concern for Russian healthcare providers.