Belarusian medicine is seriously degrading.
Lukashenka admitted that doctors are leaving Belarus. However, he kept silent about the reasons for the outflow of personnel from the healthcare system.
A doctor from one of the regional hospitals, on condition of anonymity, commented for the Charter97.org website on Lukashenka's tirade about the Belarusian healthcare system:
— It all started during the coronavirus epidemic. Doctors saw how the authorities treat them, how much their work is valued both in material and in the general human sense. After the 2020 protests, it became simply unsafe for many to stay in the country. Then a series of political layoffs began. Sometimes the best and most needed specialists were fired. Many did not wait for the turn to reach them, they took the documents right away.
Another wave of “exodus” was formed by the graduates of medical schools. Many went to Poland, Lithuania, Germany, passed the language proficiency exam, confirmed their diplomas and started working abroad.
— Will it be possible to keep doctors by “enslavement” with the help of working off, which Lukashenka is talking about?
— The effect will be reversed. Really talented and capable youngsters will learn Polish, Lithuanian, English and enter foreign universities. Some of the applicants will generally become discouraged in the desire to associate themselves with medicine. Some will think it would be better to switch to ecology or biotechnology.
I do not want to offend anyone, but the overall level of medicine graduates will fall. We will have to lower the bar for admission to universities. Accordingly, the general level of our health care will also decrease.
There is an outflow not only among doctors, but also the medical staff is leaving. Roughly speaking, you don’t need much education to put a dropper and make sure that the patient takes the pills, but in Poland and Lithuania, nurses receive five times more.
Many do not withstand the load, because due to the deficit, all the “holes” that have formed have to be patched. If everything continues like this, then it will be Khrenin to put Lukashenka on a drip next time.
— The “share of domestic drugs in healthcare” was also mentioned at the meeting. Like, it should be increased. And what about quality?
— Let's just say, there are big questions about the ratio of price and quality. The effect of the treatment can be quite good, but there are many side effects.
There are good Belarusian drugs, but their prices are sky-high, despite the fact that supposedly everything is regulated. Therefore, drugs of lower quality are purchased. Of course, there may be a corruption component here, I don’t understand it.
It is a common practice when patients bring us some foreign drugs for their money and we work with them. This is logical, because most of our drugs are just generics, a copy of Western originals.
— Is “expensive equipment” really standing idle, as Lukashenka said?
— This is complete nonsense. Sometimes we have only one MRI machine for the whole district. When it breaks, people can be sent for examination to another city or to a paid medical center if someone’s case is urgent. I think it's a disgrace to the system.
We can say there are shortages, real problems with access to equipment, with its maintenance, but not idleness. Here, either Lukashenka is being deceived, or he himself is trying to embellish the situation, saying, “I gave you everything.”
— He also mentioned problems with repairs in hospitals, and unsanitary conditions. Is it so?
— Again, Lukashenka spoke about some large funds that are allocated for repairs. Last year, we ourselves repainted our office with colleagues: we bought paint, rollers, and organized such a do-it-yourself repair campaign. If in regional hospitals plaster sometimes falls on people's heads, then I can imagine what is happening in the district ones.
I don't think these budgets reach the hospitals. I saw in which offices head physicians sit, the main departments, there is no smell of “chic” there. Simple and clean repair. If this money is allocated, then, apparently, it is stolen already at the republican and regional levels.
— What awaits Belarusian medicine in five years, if this system continues to operate?
— Degradation, precisely a serious deterioration, not stagnation. Now the system rests on the “old men”. There are doctors with a good base and experience who, due to their age, cannot leave the country. Many will retire in five years. Those under 40 are leaving. Weaker interns will come from universities, the shortage of personnel will grow.
I do not believe in the sincerity of Lukashenka, when yesterday he shouted at medical officials that it was necessary to retain specialists by all means. If they really wanted to keep them and make them more loyal — they would give out apartments, as they give out accommodation to the “cops” who bludgeon Belarusians here, there, and everywhere. If they wanted to keep them, they would stop firing the best cadres over politics.