Feldshers and health promotion in the USSR

Physician Assist. 1985 Jul;9(7):25-6, 29.


Throughout the past century, health promotion has become an increasingly important concept in the USSR, not only among medical personnel, but among the general population as well. Its importance is due, at least in part, as a result of major historical events--mainly, the devastating aftereffects of World War II, in which 20 million Russians died and thousands were left ill and disabled. Feldshers (PAs) have become an integral part of the Soviet Union's medical system and play a large role in the national health promotion. Feldshers date back to the 17th century--when they were originally used to aid the "barber-surgeons" in Peter the Great's armies--and went on to provide low cost health care to the peasant population. The author, who interviewed feldshers at various medical facilities, including a "rest home" on the Baltic Sea, the Skoraya (a system of emergency stations in Leningrad), and a walkin medical station in the Moscow subway system, examines the role of feldshers--their training, work, salaries, and job satisfaction, and discusses Soviet efforts to promote health maintenance and illness prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion*
  • Physician Assistants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Role
  • USSR
  • Workforce