Russian official statistics may significantly underestimate the number of people with hearing and vision problems

In Russia, there are at least 19 million people with hearing and vision problems, according to the results of a study by the analytical bureau of the GxP News information portal. Many of them, according to the authors of the study, could qualify for the status of a disabled person under the current legislation, which would inevitably lead to an increase in the number of the latter. Now in the Russian Federation, according to official statistics, there are "only" 68.2 thousand people with visual disabilities and 20.1 thousand people with hearing disabilities.

As Alexander Odintsov, head of the GxP News analytical bureau, told Kommersant, to assess the data on the actual number of people with visual and hearing impairments, a comprehensive analysis was used, which took into account all available estimates, as well as expert assessments of healthcare organizers and NGOs, working with such patients. In total, more than 30 in-depth interviews were conducted as part of the study, he stressed.

As indicated in the study, the difference in scores may be due to a range of barriers that patients face in the course of obtaining a disability. One of the main reasons is the difficulty in collecting documents for medical and social expertise, including the high cost of medical tests, research and consultations, bureaucratic difficulties associated with paperwork, long waiting times for an appointment with specialists, difficulties in routing, and much more.

According to the study, the number of people with visual and hearing impairments who may become disabled will increase in the coming years. By 2025, the number of the visually impaired will increase by at least 5.1%, to 6.2 million people, and the hearing impaired by 16.8%, to 19.5 million people. On the one hand, the authors of the study emphasize, the growth of such patients will occur worldwide due to the aging of the population. On the other hand, in Russia this dynamic is further supported by the lack of systematic measures to prevent this phenomenon at the state level, as well as the insufficient level of interagency cooperation between the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for the medical care system, and the Ministry of Labor, which focuses on social assistance to the disabled.

Anastasia Manuylova

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