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Improving access to public services in the villages as an activity area of inclusive rural development (based on the example of health care and education)


The paper dwells upon the situation in the area of rural population’s access to medical and educational services and the reasons that caused its deterioration during the period of market transformations in the agrarian sector. Author reveals differences in consumption of these services in urban and rural areas, as well as stratification of rural residents with different levels of total income in terms of expenditures on these services: in 10% of the lowest income households, they are 4-5 times lower than in the same group of households with the highest incomes. The first signs of improved accessibility to certain types of rural health care have been identified, which can be seen as a manifestation of the positive developments caused by local government reform and health care reform. The identification of the most urgent problems in the area of servicing rural residents is offered. They include: “staffing bottleneck” and the high cost of medical drugs and paid services in the medical sector, closure of small-scale schools in the educational sector. The interconnectedness of rural social reform and local government and territorial government reform, their focus on achieving the Global Sustainable Development Goals and similar national goals are an important basis for overcoming negative social trends in rural area. Paper discloses the presence in the initiated medical and educational reforms of the “rural” component, aimed at taking into account the spatial dispersion and small number of the relevant services consumers while improving the infrastructure and organization of servicing of the rural population. Author suggests measures planned for this purpose. It was noted that in addition to creating infrastructure and organizational prerequisites for servicing, an indispensable factor for improving access to public services in the rural area is ensuring inclusive development of the rural economy and raising the overall income level of rural population.

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