23 October 2021, Saturday, 6:50
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‘Polyclinics Now Equal Hell: Doctors and Patients Tell of New Wave of Coronovirus in Belarus’

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‘Polyclinics Now Equal Hell: Doctors and Patients Tell of New Wave of Coronovirus in Belarus’
Photo: Nasha Niva

Shocking facts.

The Belarusian Ministry of Health announced the fourth wave of coronavirus a couple of days ago.

What happens in hospitals and polyclinics, medical professionals and patients tell Nasha Niva.

"I work in a polyclinic in the capital. The home visits to patients with coronavirus have increased sharply in the last month. One is reluctant to open places in inpatient clinics.

All the hospitals are overcrowded and turned into covid units. There is a conveyor there. People are discharged early. There is a shortage of ventilators and medicines", says one of the doctors in the capital, whom we spoke to on condition of anonymity. - Judging from what we see at places, the figures are statistically reduced by several times. One can observe it based on data on excess mortality in Belarus".

"In two weeks of September, we received as many patients as we did in January. It's far from the November avalanche. Young people raise great concern. Parents came with 18-19-year-olds. Many fall seriously ill", the second medical practitioner points out.

"The health workers can barely cope with the influx. There are 4 general practitioners at the infectious disease clinic, and the corridors are overcrowded with treating and re-treating patients every day.

Even if a person came to the clinic with ARVI, one will come home with a covid after several hours in such a line," said an employee of the 8th policlinic in the Pervomaisky district of Minsk.

A photo of a paramedic has recently appeared on Instagram. The medic admitted that he was twentieth in line to the first city clinical hospital. They brought the patient in at 18:23 and handed him over to the emergency room at 20:30.

"At 8 pm, the hospital staff came out and said there were no rooms. Yes, we did. All the covid hospitals in Minsk are busy," the man wrote.

At the same time, news about the re-orientation of medical institutions to covid patients occurs almost every day. Judging by what the doctors write and tell us, they do not have enough places for all the patients.

"The paediatrics department hits all-time high: up to 100 patients a day.

The situation is bad in the regions. For example, physicians in Mogilev say 30-50 people are taken for X-rays per shift and note a significant increase in covid patients.

"Many people come in families. There are a lot of young people. There are not enough beds in the inpatient units, shortage of oxygen. One has been told to reduce to a minimum the staff working in red zones," the doctors say. - The mask regime is not controlled in any way, only at the cash counters in the shops. Almost everyone on public transport has no mask. Young people do not want to vaccinate, the elder ones are more responsible.

In Molodechno, there is an influx. Doctors say the load has significantly increased.

"It just doesn't make sense. How can one physically manage to accept 50 patients and then go around 60 addresses in half a day? At least 20 people stand in the line on the street to any polyclinic. One GP has 40-60 home visits a day. The paediatrics department hits an all-time high of up to 100 patients a day.

According to medical workers in the Ushachi district, the number of covid patients has increased by almost five times in recent months.

I work at the Hospital in the Lesnoy agro town. There were 165 covid patients in the morning. They accept new patients with pneumonia from the Minsk region. We do not serve the city.

We discharge the last scheduled patients and open another 180 covid beds," said one of the doctors.

"Many people with fever have been standing outside since early morning. They feel cold".

Readers tell of long lines in front of the covid units in polyclinics now.

"The 20th children's polyclinic in Minsk has a huge line of patients with fever. They enter through a separate entrance. At 11 o'clock everyone was told to disperse as no one else could be admitted," said Sergei, a citizen of Minsk. - There is a shortage of general practitioners.

One GP serves three sectors. The doctor we were sent to work till noon and logically asked not to stand in line anymore. But the registrar's office sends people. The whole corridor is crowded with people. This is not a complaint about doctors. I'm just describing the situation."

Many readers send photos as proof. For example, a resident of Homel sent such a photo to the editorial office. He says it was the 8th policlinic.

The line in Kobrin is so long that it turns even round the corner. The patients say medical practitioners have no breaks, but people still stand in line for hours.

A similar situation, according to readers, is in Salihorsk, where there is "an unprecedented influx of sick children and adults in the city treatment and prevention centres today".

The situation in a clinic in Maryina Horka is more or less the same. People stand in line for an appointment with suspected coronavirus for hours.

"The doctor does not come to visit the sick. He simply cannot cope with the influx of patients, - says a local resident. - There is a separate office for the covid patients, the people are allowed through the back door. Many even with a fever stand outside in the morning. Freezing."

"You know, queuing for several hours is not going up to the 4th or 5th floor 20 times a day," comments a physician who visits patients in a special anti-covid suit. The sauna effect is achieved after just 10 minutes of use.

I don't even mention the new building, where elevators do not work. Now I am in the clinic, I used to be in an ambulance. I know each structure from the inside. I will say this: in polyclinics today is a real hell. "

"Many really experienced professionals were fired for their civic position."

Hourly queues and such difficulties in treating the fourth wave of coronavirus, according to doctors, not only due to the fact that the number of patients has increased dramatically. Another significant reason is the decrease in the number of doctors.

"There are absolutely not enough doctors," says one of the capital's doctors. Many really experienced specialists in our country who did not want to remain silent were fired for their civic position ".

"In the same Maryina Horka, the shortage of doctors is catastrophic: one specialist leads a covid reception with a huge influx of patients. Obviously, this specialist is simply not able to help everyone, even physically," writes Alena, a resident of Maryina Horka.

"14 people have left our hospital alone in recent months," doctors from Salihorsk told us. - Soon there will be no one to treat patients.

And if one of our colleagues complains that for the last year and a half they have been working in life-threatening conditions - with irregular schedules and in constant stress - in response they hear: "everyone to his trade."

According to official data, about 10 thousand doctors are lacking in Belarus today. Interestingly, at the beginning of 2020, the country lacked only 3 thousand such specialists. In just 8 months, the health care system has formed a "hole" for 7 thousand specialists.

Officials admit the problem with personnel in health care, but assure that the situation is not critical. At the same time, in order to provide the polyclinics with personnel, interns are sent there. This is evidenced by the document that fell into the hands of the editorial board.

Judging by its content, in order to provide a workforce for the polyclinic, the Ministry decided to change the plan for passing the internship. For two months, the interns want to be included in the contact teams who go to home visits to patients with confirmed covid.

"The Ministry of Health does not see any reason to introduce additional quarantine measures, but it does see the need to mobilize interns for visiting patients in the coming months," explains one of the doctors. - Also, the Ministry of Health does not want to admit the fact of a critical shortage of doctors in Belarus.

Moreover, the transfer of interns to "visits" speaks precisely to the fact that the need for "hands" has sharply increased. And the number of these "hands" is progressively decreasing. By the way, interns are not promised additional payments for visits."

"There are not enough people, so managers call workers from vacation"

Meanwhile, the coronavirus is actively marching through collectives, schools and kindergartens. Disease outbreaks are reported to us by employees of the education system as well as by employees of all kinds of enterprises. For example, an employee of a kindergarten from the Frunzenski District says that half of the employees in her team are sick.

"People are simply mowed down by the covid. I myself got sick in December, it would seem, a lot of antibodies, but caught the coronavirus again," she says.

There are not enough people due to illness also in enterprises. Employees of the Minsk Electrotechnical Plant say that people have to be called from vacations.

"In the 16th workshop, almost everyone is sick, and in the 9th workshop, the epidemic is just beginning to spread. There are not enough people, so the managers call workers out of vacation," says one of the workers.

"Children at school go from one classroom to another, and do not study in one, as prescribed by anti-covid norms," the mother of a sixth-grader from secondary school # 205 in Minsk tells us. "We are not talking about distance learning at all".

Parents of schoolchildren from other educational institutions in the capital say that the situation is similar in their establishments. Moreover, if the parents decide to leave the child at home for one day, for example - a sore throat, the school requires an official certificate from a doctor.

"That is, even if a child just caught a cold, they need to be taken to an overcrowded clinic, from where they will definitely return with a covid," says mother of a fourth-grader Volha. - A similar story with certificates that are now required from schoolchildren by almost all sports clubs. Where is the logic and at least some kind of intelligence? "

Important to note that of the anti-quarantine measures, the Ministry of Health advises to wash hands more often, wear masks, keep a distance and get vaccinated. Travel abroad is also limited. There is no talk of any lockdown today.

"Belarusians should now take care of themselves"

"Fact: the fourth wave of the coronavirus has come to Belarus. The flu will join it soon. And at that time, not a single person I received over the past few days had been vaccinated," says doctor Alena from Minsk. - Many Belarusians disregard security measures, and do not wear masks. At weddings and parties - 100 people, and also without masks: the photos will be bad. The country's leadership also has not yet taken full-fledged anti-criminal actions."

According to the doctor, followed by many of Alena's colleagues, the Ministry of Health, which is reducing hospitalization and dismissal of doctors, will not be able to solve the coronavirus problem in the near future.

"Therefore, Belarusians are obliged to take care of themselves. Now it is only in your hands to get vaccinated and take anti-anxiety measures responsibly," says the doctor.

According to the latest official data from the Ministry of Health, more than 1.48 million people have already received a full course of vaccination against the coronavirus in Belarus, and more than 1.77 million people have received the first component of the vaccine.

You can get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Belarus with two vaccines: the Russian Sputnik V or the Chinese Vero Cell from the Sinafarm company.

For the sake of revaccination, Belarus received 250 thousand doses of the Russian single-component vaccine Sputnik Light.

You can get vaccinated in clinics and some hospitals, special points in shopping centers, markets and even in the metro. Also, the vaccination can be done in the capital's universities and student hostels.