‘Things that are difficult to ask mom about’: first forum Prosto o Slozhnom
Deputies, doctors, and teachers — about sex education, family studies lessons, and abortions
The first All-Russian forum Prosto O Slozhnom was held in Kazan on January 26. The project is dedicated to discussing the problems of strengthening family values, preventing abortion and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as assistance in situations of reproductive choice. A correspondent of Realnoe Vremya visited the event.
“All experts will just talk simply about very difficult things”
The forum was organised by Deputy of the State Duma of Russia Airat Farrakhov and a number of departments and organisations, including the Tatarstan Ministries of Youth Affairs, Healthcare, Education and Science.
“All experts will simply talk about very difficult things: about those things that are sometimes difficult to ask mom about, which are not easy for mother or father to tell children about. Teachers can't understand doctors, and doctors can't get anything out of teachers. With the help of our colleagues, famous professors who came from Moscow, eminent doctors, teachers, deputies of the State Duma, we decided to travel through all cities, all schools, educational institutions to answer these important questions. Time shows that there are many of these questions and they do not always have answers," Airat Farrakhov said about the mission of the project.
The idea of the project was born in the State Duma during the discussion of abortion prevention. But today the topic of the forum is much broader: it is intended to be a platform where specialists of different profiles will have the opportunity to tell parents and children about sex education and answer any of their questions. By the way, the day before the forum, the information of interest could be clarified anonymously by clicking on a special QR code.
Antonina Ledina, one of the experts of the forum, MD, head of regional programmes of the International Association of Gynecologists, Endocrinologists, Therapists, noted that she was glad to launch the event in Kazan. “Today I have seen a lot of young children in your republic, your capital. I would like this experience of loving the children of large families to spread throughout Russia," she said.
Birth rate in Tatarstan has been falling since 2017
The figures indicate the relevance of the project: birth rates in Russia and Tatarstan are falling. In 2023, the natural increase in the country was -2.1 compared to last year, this indicator is equal to -1.6 in the republic, Tatyana Shigabutdinova, Candidate of Medical Sciences, deputy head of the State Clinical Hospital No. 7 for Obstetrics and Gynecology, chief visiting specialist — obstetrician-gynecologist of the Ministry of Healthcare of Tatarstan, said in her speech.
The number of children born in the region has been falling annually since 2017:
- 2017 — 48,298 children were born;
- 2018 — 46,215 children;
- 2019 — 42,871 children;
- 2020 — 41,598 children;
- 2021 — 40,936 children;
- 2022 — 36,673 children;
- 2023 — 36,497 children.
In recent years, the number of fertile women in the region has consistently decreased:
- 2018 — 924,652 women;
- 2019 — 918,871 women;
- 2018 — 914,380 women;
- 2019 — 908,610 women;
- 2020 — 906,181 women.
Speaking about the measures that are being taken in the republic to improve the demographic situation, Tatyana Shigabutdinova spoke about the 514th order of the Ministry of Healthcare of Tatarstan on the procedure for preventive medical examinations of minors.
“We have also created a project for the development of children's healthcare in the republic, that is, in women's consultations, children's polyclinics, pediatric gynecologists have adolescent rooms where girls are examined. Every women's consultation is assigned to schools," she said.
According to Tatyana Shigabutdinova, in 2023, inflammatory processes of the genital organs (52%) and menstrual function disorders (41%) came to the fore in teenage girls. Menstrual disorders in minors aged 10-14 years began to be registered more often than 5 years ago.
“It is wrong to ban abortions”
The forum also did not ignore the burning topic of abortion. During her report, obstetrician-gynecologist, dermatovenerologist, Professor, Honorary President of the Russian Association for Genital Infections and Neoplasia RAGIN, head of the Oncopatrul\ZhenProSvet project Svetlana Rogovskaya asked those who advocate a complete ban on abortions to raise their hands. There were only about three such people.
“But we, gynecologists, know for sure that this should not be done in any case. Why? Because we are all living people. Unwanted pregnancies will still occur. Anyway, women will look for an option to terminate them and there will be criminal abortions. All this will increase health risks and mortality," said Svetlana Rogovskaya.
Nevertheless, she called abortion a bad decision and urged not to rush it: “It is necessary to develop programmes to help women who have become pregnant and who do not need pregnancy. They definitely need to be given the opportunity to think.”
Family studies lessons in schools
Tatyana Larionova, a deputy of the State Duma of Russia from Tatarstan, spoke about how family studies lessons will be held in Russian schools. They are included in the action plan approved by the Russian government for the Year of the Family. A working group headed by Tatyana Larionova in the State Duma has been preparing the programme for a whole year.
Taking into account the heavy load on students, the new classes will be optional, the deputy assured. They will not give grades to children.
“A lot of people, when we conducted the survey, wrote that, in fact, it is necessary to deal with these issues from kindergarten. But now we are not talking about sex education, but about the moral aspects of family education. Now we recommend giving this question to every region and even to every educational institution. We recommend that such lessons, first of all, take place from the 9th grade," the deputy noted.
According to her, the questions about who would teach family studies classes caused a heated discussion. First of all, the lessons should be taught by teachers. It is best if it is home form teachers, because they are more familiar with the situation in each child's family than others.