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"Pregnant women will riot!". Residents of Pitkyaranta wrote an appeal to Putin with a request to keep the maternity ward

Karelian authorities failed to convince pregnant women to give birth in Petrozavodsk

Pitkyaranta resident Lyubov Kharlamova at the meeting with authorities
by Sergei Markelov
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The Karelian authorities decided to close the maternity ward of the Pitkyaranta District Hospital on July 1, on the pretext that medical care is out of date here. The Ministry of Health suggests giving birth in Petrozavodsk (200 km from Pitkyaranta) or Sortavala (100 km). Residents of Pitkyaranta created a petition on Change.org against the closure of the maternity ward. On June 5, officials of the Karelian government met with them in the assembly hall of the district administration. The «7x7» correspondent visited the meeting.


Secret visit

We took a walk with the author of the petition in support of the maternity ward of the Pitkyaranta District Hospital Lyubov Kharlamova. She is seven months pregnant, gently holds the belly with her hands, from time to time loses her train of thought. The day before, on June 4, the head of Karelia Artur Parfenchikov, commenting on the petition on VKontakte, called Kharlamova a provocateur: "I would suggest that residents of Pitkyaranta do not listen to provocations of people who pursue their personal interests. There will not be a separate maternity ward in the hospital for one simple reason — why is it necessary when only two or three women a week take delivery at this hospital?" "Federal Press" quotes Parfenchikov.

"For me, this is a personal insult, that I am a provocateur. What kind of provocation is that?" Kharlamova asks and shows her belly. "That I am on the seventh month of pregnancy and want to give birth in my city?"



At the same time, Parfenchikov walked along the corridors of the Pitkyaranta hospital — he did not come to meet people. This became known in the evening, when he wrote in social networks: "I visited the Pitkyaranta District Hospital once again. There were a lot of questions about the maternity department of the hospital."

Mostly women gathered in the assembly hall of the district administration. The authorities were represented by the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Karelia Antonina Zherebtsova, the head of the administration of the Pitkyaranta district Dmitry Troshin, the deputy prime minister of the Government of Karelia on health and social protection Igor Korsakov, the head doctor of the Pitkyaranta hospital Galina Lazutkina, the head physician of the republican perinatal center Yevgeny Tuchin and the chief obstetrician-gynecologist of Karelia Elena Kuzmicheva.



"We have come to talk to you"

The women stated that they did not want to drive for three hours to give birth in Petrozavodsk, far from home or even on the way. Officials tried to convince them that the decision to close the maternity ward is the right one — it would be better and safer. They recalled that years ago women gave birth in the hayloft, in an ambulance, that they had to use dump trucks in the 1980s and a boat — in the 1970s. And now all the conditions are created. Obstetricians delivering babies rarely were compared with pilots who did not fly for a long time and lost the skills.


Igor Korsakov


"Raise your hand," Igor Korsakov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Karelia, threateningly looking around the hall, "Who wants to harm his sister, or his brother, or his children?! Come on, raise it!"

No one raised hands.


Galina Lazutkina


"You have probably understood that we do not plan deliveries after July 1 in our Pitkyaranta hospital, but we will provide outpatient and polyclinic assistance," explained Galina Lazutkina, head doctor of the Pitkyaranta hospital.

The officials persuaded as they could. They gave terrible statistics of deaths and accidents in the districts, named a large number of residents of Pitkyaranta, who decided to give birth in Petrozavodsk.

The general Karelian obstetrician-gynecologist Elena Kuzmicheva listed all the advantages of professional medical care in Petrozavodsk and showed photos with an enema nailed to the wall of the Pitkyaranta hospital for comparison:

"We are entering and have already entered the era of medical technology. Naturally, providing technology at the level of the central district hospital, taking into account the experience, taking into account the small number of patients, taking into account the need for complex expensive equipment is simply impossible."

People said they do not want to listen to long stories of officials and want to talk themselves.

"We came to the meeting, not to a lecture!" they said.

"What kind of disrespect is this?" Kuzmicheva resented.

"Why do you talk so much?"

"Let's be restrained in our statements and listen to all," Igor Korsakov called the audience.

"Let's get down to business then!"

"We came to talk to you. And this is not a lecture, it's statistics. These are figures. Deaths! My friends, this is death because of misunderstanding. Therefore, I will ask you to be sustained," Korsakov repeated, waggled his finger and called Evgeny Tuchin to the chair.

The head doctor of the Republican Perinatal Center of Karelia has shown how nice and beautiful the new perinatal center would be. The office will open in a few months.


Nina Zarechnaya


A former medical worker, and now the head of the Pitkyaranta district, Nina Zarechnaya, described how she safely bore a son in a hospital in Pitkyaranta in 1973, and lost twins in 1983 during her second childbirth. Because in Pitkyaranta there was no equipment to save them, but in Petrozavodsk there is, so they have to choose Petrozavodsk.

"Three years ago, I lost my adult son, who was born in 1973. Just because I sent him to Sortavala, their MRI scanner was broken, and a timely diagnosis was not made. I took him to Petrozavodsk, but due to the fact that he was brought very late, he died. Listen, to lose a child when he is 41 years old or lived in you for 26 weeks, you heard his heartbeat, you talked to him, you read fairy tales to him, dreamed of how he will grow up — and to lose him?" said Zarechnaya.



"In 20 years, this city will disappear"

The women did not agree. They said that they want to give birth in Pitkyaranta, with the same conditions as in Petrozavodsk. This is a violation of their constitutional rights, they said: a woman in Petrozavodsk gives birth at home, why should they go somewhere from Pitkyaranta? They offered the youth to move to Petrozavodsk and Sortavala, and if there is enough money, it's even better to go to Germany and neighboring Finland.

"I understand everything. I will say in plain Russian: "If premature birth has begun, you have to keep your legs locked tight and endure till Petrozavodsk!".

"You decided in advance and do not want to listen to us! You are not interested in our opinion! You need to give information, you give it! You do not listen to us!"

"The city is already thrown out for extinction, and private interests force everyone to leave this city and leave for good. There's nothing to do here! It is impossible to study here! It is impossible to give birth!"



"Young, highly qualified specialists will not create families here, they will not have children. You can not lure them with northern allowance or affordable housing. Because everyone will understand — you can live safely only in non-rubber capitals. Our country captures new, tasty territories, happily assimilates them, invests money in them. And abandon previous ones — well, it’s rich, apparently! And it does not understand that the wealth of the country is not in the territories, but in people. It does not want to hear the protests of citizens, does not listen to its people. The authorities are imposing their decisions. It's time to finish with this practice," Anna read out a large report prepared beforehand by the representative of the initiative group.


Nadezhda Sokolovskaya


Nadezhda Sokolovskaya has been living in Pitkyaranta for all her life and believes that the city will perish if operated by such methods. She gave birth in the perinatal center in Petrozavodsk, spent four weeks there — gave birth safely, but had to spend a lot on living, although she was given a free bed.

"Neither escort [to Petrozavodsk], nor anything else was given to me. It is clear that families would do everything at their own expense. Accommodation took about 15 thousand rubles. There are no relatives, they can’t bring you anything. My parents gave me money to go to the nearest market, to buy fruits, protein, cereal food — I bought everything that my mother could bring from home," said Sokolovskaya. "If women can not give birth here, in 20 years this city will disappear. People will give birth in another place, they will settle there."



The author of the petition in support of the maternity ward Lyubov Kharlamova gave birth to two children in Pitkyaranta and does not want to give birth in another city. According to her, it is very difficult for pregnant women to get to Petrozavodsk, plus natural physiological needs, psychological discomfort. Mother is separated from her family, from older children. Officials responded that health and life are more valuable.

Kharlamova asked who will be responsible in case of an accident. Igor Korsakov made a lengthy comparison with a meteorite that could fall on the head on the way to maternity clinic.

"If nothing helps, pregnant women will riot," Lyubov Kharlamova joked.

The three-hour meeting had not delivered results. In the evening of June 5, residents of Pitkyaranta wrote a collective appeal to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. People walked around the city and chanted "Let's save Pitkyaranta!".

On the same day after visiting the Pitkyaranta hospital, Parfenchikov wrote on "VKontakte":

"From the beginning of the year, 12 babies were delivered in the Pitkyaranta hospital, including the last one on May 18. The delivery room does not meet modern requirements. At present, a decision has been made to create a new maternity hospital in the surgical department with modern equipment [the maternity room will remain for those who do not want to go to Petrozavodsk]. On the first floor of the hospital, where the maternity ward is now located, repairs and reconstruction will be carried out, after which a new children's consultation will be opened, taking into account all modern regulations and rules."

On June 19, pregnant women and mothers of Pitkyaranta are going to hold a meeting in support of the maternity ward of the Central District Hospital.

Sergey Markelov, photo of the author, «7x7»


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