Mercy as everyday life
Rural paramedics in Russia are doctors, psychologists and social assistants all in one. Each paramedic serves 2-3 villages. There are many elderly people among the patients who need an everyday care. Apart from medical assistance, rural paramedics are forced to solve a lot of everyday problems. Very often, there are no water supply and sewage in rural health posts. Indoor cleaning and yard maintenance usually become a responsibility of the paramedics too.
Traditionally, rural paramedics are women, aged 55 and elder, with 30 years working experience. Young people rarely choose this profession. A governmental program called «Zemskiy feldscher» is active nationwide since 2018. This program supports paramedics who just arrive on site by providing financial support and different kinds of benefits to them. However, the difficulties that new coming rural paramedics encounter are significantly slow down the realization of this seemingly attractive, state project.
Covid-19 Pandemic has seriously aggravated the problems related to the lack of nursing staff. Almost all rural paramedics are in a risk age group, many of them went through Covid-19 themselves already. Rural paramedics keep doing their medical work in the villages in a situation of a health care system crisis.
Maxim Gorky, Kyzgy, Terekly, Zilim & Abzanovo villages, Russia, Bashkortostan, 2021