Medical students in Russia forced to work in coronavirus hotspots

Medical students in Russia are being forced to work in coronavirus hotspots. Failure to agree with these directives will lead to students’ graduations being revoked.

The spread of coronavirus in Russia is accelerating, with the country recording more than 10,000 new cases in the last week. This has pushed the number of confirmed cases in the country to over 250,000 and there are growing concerns the numbers will continue to rise exponentially across the country.

Confronted with this reality, the Russian government has embarked on expanding its bed capacity by 100,000. The plan also would require hospitals to increase their medical staff to be able to handle the increasing number of patients in the country.

However, the hospitals are already short-staffed and there is no way of getting new staff to work in these hospitals that have now been overrun by cases of coronavirus. Realizing their challenge, the Russian government released a directive requiring all medical students above fourth-year education level must work in these hospitals.

Mandatory service for medical students

The mandatory request also came with a caveat for those who will fail to volunteer their services. It was made clear that they will not be able to graduate.

Tying education progress with serving in coronavirus hotspot for these medical students made sure they did not have a choice. The order which was announced on April 27th and went into effect on May 1st will see students as young as 21 years serve in these hospitals with no prior pandemic experience.

The medical students are worried about their safety and the lack of adequate personal protection for doctors. Alexandra, who studies at Moscow’s top Sechenov medical university said there was no guarantee they would be safely guarded while working pointing out complaints by doctors about the lack of protective gear.

Alexander also pointed out that she would have liked the program to be voluntary and not tied to medical students’ prospects of graduating or finishing their medical courses.

Ivan Konovalov, spokesman for the Alliance of Doctors, a union allied to the opposition pointed out that the virus had exposed Russia’s failing medical facilities. He said doctors had left the profession in droves due to poor policies implemented over the years.


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