Hemophiliacs used to live under the threat of death in Russia, as no accessible treatments were available for sufferers.
But the situation has changed, as the government has started giving out blood-clotting products for free and opened specialized medical centers for hemophilia patients.
For most, having to inject yourself with four syringes-full of medicine every other day would be a painful chore.
But Aleksandr says that, for him, it is a privilege. Before the government started giving out blood clotting products, he lived in constant fear.
Aleksandr is a hemophiliac – his blood does not clot naturally.
Hemophilia used to be known as "the Royal Disease" – the last Russian Tsar's heir, Prince Alexey, was a sufferer, among others.
Any cuts to the body can turn into deadly, uncontrollable hemorrhages. Constant internal bleeding into the joints causes severe damage.
Aleksandr, a successful lawyer, can barely walk now – in the future he might have to use a wheelchair.
This could have been avoided.
Accessible treatments have existed since the 1970s, but the Russian government only started distributing them for free five years ago.
“Am I bitter? No. Of course, if I was born today I would have a completely normal life. But, then again, if I was born 20 years earlier, I might have already been dead,” Aleksandr says.
Belatedly, the government is making amends to others in Aleksandr's situation.
The kind of care and rehabilitation patients receive at Russia's first medical center dedicated to hemophiliacs can totally transform their quality of life.
If the doctors did not help them, many would be dead.
“Our only wish here is that there would be such hospitals elsewhere in Russia – there are people here who've traveled thousands of miles just to get treatment,” says Dr. Vladimir Zorenko.
A course of treatment costs more than $50,000 a year per patient.
The government started paying attention after a publicity campaign led by sufferers.
“Our job was very difficult. We had to persuade our government to spend money now, even though the results – healthy people instead of disabled sufferers – wouldn't be seen for decades,” says Yury Zhulev of Russia’s Hemophilia Association.
Now, Russia's 15,000 hemophiliacs can receive free treatment.
In the future, there may be no need for such hospitals at all.
National Economic Trends
Russian November Unemployment Rate Fell to 6.7%, Service Says
December 17, 2010, 4:15 AM EST
The jobless rate slid to 6.7 percent in November from 6.8 percent the previous month, the Moscow-based statistics office said in an e-mailed statement today. The median survey of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for 7 percent.
The economy will show “positive dynamics” in the fourth quarter after shrinking on a seasonally adjusted basis in the third, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach told reporters on Dec. 15. Gross domestic product is set to expand an annual 3.8 percent this year, according to the Economy Ministry.
“The pause in growth is over,” Klepach said. While unemployment is shrinking, income growth is “a little bit” lower than expected.
Disposable income is set to rise 3.8 percent this year, down from the previous forecast of 4.4 percent, the Economy Ministry said on Dec. 15. Wages adjusted for inflation will increase 4.2 percent versus an earlier forecast of 4.9 percent, according to the ministry.
--Editor: Patrick G. Henry
To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Levitov in Moscow at email@example.com
Ruble Gains to Month-High Against Dollar, Weakens Versus Euro
December 17, 2010, 3:50 AM EST
By Jason Corcoran
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The ruble gained 0.2 percent to 30.6550 per dollar at 11:03 a.m. in Moscow trading, the strongest level since Nov. 11.
The Russian currency weakened for the third day this week against the euro, slipping 0.4 percent to 40.8240. Against the yuan, the ruble strengthened 0.2 percent to 46.1000 per 10 yuan in the third day of trading against the Chinese currency on the Micex exchange.
--Editors: Linda Shen, John Kohut
To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Corcoran at Jcorcoran13@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
December 17, 2010 09:15
Banks have 634.9 bln rbs on CBR correspondent accounts on December 17
MOSCOW. December 17 (Interfax) - Russian banks have 634.9 billion rubles on correspondent accounts in the Central Bank as of December 17 including 432.8 billion rubles for Moscow banks
The balance on December 16 was 682.9 billion rubles and 485.3 billion rubles, respectively.
Banks had 296.9 billion rubles on deposit accounts in the Central Bank on December 17 against 249.4 billion rubles on previous day.
New Financial Watchdog?
17 December 2010
The Finance Ministry proposed merging the country’s financial markets and insurance watchdogs into a new oversight body, according to a draft decree posted on the ministry’s web site Thursday.
The ministry wants to approve financial regulations itself instead of delegating the authority to the Federal Service for Financial Markets, which would be abolished if it unites with the Federal Service for Insurance Industry Supervision, the ministry said.
Russia's Finance Ministry has submitted a draft finance bill to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that will create a super regulator for the finance sector, a source familiar with the situation told PRIME-TASS Thursday.
The bill will also create a regulator for the insurance sector.
According to the draft decree, the Federal Service for Financial Markets is to be liquidated and the Federal Service for Insurance Oversight is to be transformed into the Federal Financial Service reports Prime Tass.