(dispensary method), in the USSR and other socialist countries, a program designed to provide medical-preventive services to the population.
The program provides for the obligatory registration of certain categories of the population, the periodic observation of these persons to reveal initial stages of diseases, the prompt application of medical-preventive measures, and the prevention of complications and invalidism. The program also provides for the systematic study of work and living conditions and for the taking of individual and social preventive measures to improve or eliminate factors that could cause various diseases. Persons included under this program are pregnant women, infants up to three years of age, children in nurseries and kindergartens, schoolchildren, students in vocational and technical schools and in factory or plant training programs, adolescents, workers in industry, youths undergoing premilitary training, athletes, workers in shops and occupations distinguished by special working conditions, groups of workers in key shops, invalids, mechanization experts, and brigade leaders and front-rank workers in agriculture. Also receiving care under the dispensary program are patients suffering from certain types of medical conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, gastric and duodenal ulcers, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and mental illness.
The dispensary system is operated by the district physicians of polyclinics, hospitals, women’s consultations, dispensaries, and children’s institutions (nurseries-kindergartens), as well as by school physicians and shop physicians.
Persons receive care under the dispensary program by virtue of belonging to one of the registered categories, after undergoing periodic or special examinations, or after routine consultations with physicians.
The organizational problems, methods, and forms of the dispensary system were first worked out and adopted by Soviet dispensaries. Socialist countries make extensive use of the experience of Soviet public health systems, adapting it to the specific public health problems, national characteristics, and morbidity rate in each country.
REFERENCESPetrovskii, B. V. 50 let sovetskogo zdravookhraneniia. Moscow, 1967.
Maistrakh, K. V. Dispansernyi metod raboty lechebnoprofilakticheskikh uchrezhdenii. Moscow, 1955.
Organizatsiia zdravookhraneniia v SSSR. Edited by N. A. Vinogradov. Moscow, 1962.
G. N. SOBOLEVSKII