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Presenting state awards to healthcare professionals

7 August 2020
In the fight against the coronavirus, medical workers, having forgotten about all the regalia, worked towards a common goal without sparing any effort, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with employees of the country’s healthcare system to present state awards on 7 August.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed this is a truly historic day, because for the first time this place has hosted awardees representing one profession. “I am happy that you, our doctors, all who was involved in the fight against the virus, are gradually going back to a normal life. Finally you can hug your kids, wives, husbands, parents whom many of you have not seen for weeks and even months, because many of you lived in hospitals and laboratories all this time. I am sure that this parting was extremely difficult for you. You have chosen this, however, because of the fidelity to your professional duty,” the head of state said. According to the president, medical workers have taken risks and this does not only include the danger of contracting the COVID-19, but also both physical and emotional load, sleepless nights.

According to the head of state, the pandemic is not just an outbreak of a disease in the world. It is also political and economic warfare. The Belarusian leader stated that the world has not come up with the recipes how to cure the disease. “But together we have coped with it, in defiance of all kinds of pundits and ill-wishers,” the president said. “There were many of them and there will be many. I warned you three months ago that the pandemic is not just an outbreak of a disease. This is a political and, as we see today, economic confrontation or, even more, a warfare.”

“All states are trying to use this disease to rise high above and to downgrade others,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the state cannot save on healthcare expenses. “We have spent more than half a billion rubles to fight the coronavirus. We are not a rich country but we are well aware that every new technology, every piece of new equipment or medicine means hundreds and thousands of saved lives. The state cannot save on this,” the head of state believes.

The president is convinced that stimulus payments to doctors who have been  working 24/7 are well-deserved. “The government has been tasked with bringing the average salary of healthcare professionals to 150% of the national average in the next five years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The head of state emphasized the importance of the fact that medical workers who fought against the virus have been honored across the country.

The president said that he wanted to invite all the medical workers and thank them. However, as it was impossible, he instructed officials to meet and thank all those who was involved in this work.

Healthcare workers from different regions of Belarus were invited to the Palace of Independence. “I am glad to have this opportunity to personally thank you and all the medical workers of the country for your selfless, even heroic work,” said the head of state.

Among the awardees were pulmonologists and infectious disease specialists, as well as intensive care specialists, primary and ambulance doctors, nurses, assistants and paramedics, specialists of the sanitary-epidemiological service, laboratory workers, scientists, chief physicians, representatives of the Healthcare Ministry.

“All of you, having forgotten about regalia, worked towards a common goal without feeling sorry for yourself, and sometimes without even realizing at first what will happen tomorrow,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked senior students of medical universities: “They have not even had time to take the oath of a Belarusian doctor, but have already fulfilled all the points of this oath. By standing shoulder to shoulder with the certified specialists, these young medical workers proved that they would make good doctors.”

The president wished all the medical workers and their loved ones strong health, happiness and wellbeing. “May you live a long life. You have experienced a difficult period. However, thanks to this, we were able to see and appreciate what extraordinary people live among us. Thank you once again for all that you have done. We cannot feel complacent however. We have accumulated a great deal of experience in this fight and we must do everything to ensure that in the future there will be no second or third wave. If, God forbid, something happens, we must be prepared to stand together and protect our people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The honorary title “People’s Doctor of Belarus” was awarded to Professor, Doctor of Medicine Igor Karpov, the head of the Infectious Diseases Department at Belarusian State Medical University. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that during the epidemic of coronavirus, it was Igor Karpov who spearheaded the response effort. He traveled to the regions, dealt with the most severe cases, gave recommendation and helped. “He is a worthy example of a true people's doctor of Belarus,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Igor Karpov thanked for the high appraisal of his work. “Especially for the people of our generation, the word "people's” is probably the highest form of appreciation. It is a wonderful term that our generation has known our entire working life,” he said. “Our healthcare system has grown more professional, courageous and more well-equipped to respond to challenges. Assistance was provided at all levels and reached all regions of the country. This shows that our healthcare is really people’s and that you, dear assembled, are people’s doctors,” Igor Karpov noted.

In conclusion Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he is ready to donate convalescent plasma to help treat coronavirus patients.

“I will tell you a secret. Even Mr Karanik [Healthcare Minister Vladimir Karanik] might not know about it. I have already recovered from this disease. You know, what is on my mind? I want you to include me into that golden pool of people who donate blood, plasma that is then used to treat people,” the head of state said.

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© 2020, The Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus