Zemstvo medicine

Zemstvo medicine. A system of medical and sanitary services in Ukraine under Russian rule, implemented as part of the land reforms in 1865, except in Kyiv gubernia, Volhynia gubernia, and Podilia gubernia, where it was implemented in 1911.

Zemstvo physicians gradually established a network of stationary dispensaries, medical clinics, and hospitals, mostly for the peasant population. They were financed by the collection of taxes from the whole population. Medical services were free, with some exceptions where small fees were charged. Zemstvo physicians also took over the care and treatment of the mentally ill. They were responsible for the control of epidemics of cholera, diphtheria, and syphilis. Smallpox vaccination was also under their jurisdiction. Since they were also responsible for the training of medical personnel, mainly medics and doctors’ assistants, zemstvo physicians founded schools for medics, including institutes of bacteriology in Odesa, Katerynoslav, and Chernihiv. Despite the shortcomings of the system and the relatively small number of medical institutions, which could not possibly serve the large population and such a large area, zemstvo medicine played an important part in the growth of medical science and health care in Ukraine. It established and developed, as far as was possible, the stationary medical care unit for the local population, introduced the prophylactic approach to health care, and initiated the recording of sanitation statistics.

Trudy XI-go gubernskago s"ezda zemskikh vrachei i predstavitelei zemskikh uchrezhdenii Ekaterinoslavskoi gubernii 20–29 marta 1914 goda, vol 1 (Katerynoslav 1914)
Bortkevich', Ia. Zemskaia meditsina v Verkhnedneprovskom uezde za 1913 god (Verkhnodniprovske 1915)
Zemsko-meditsinskii otchet Volynskoi gubernii za 1915 god (Zhytomyr 1917)
Igumnov, S. Ocherki razvitiia zemskoi meditsiny v guberniiakh, voshedshikh v sostav USSR, v Bessarabii i v Krymu (Kyiv 1940)

Paul Dzul

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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