Distinguishing Traits and Accomplishments of the National Healthcare System

Features and achievements of the national health system

State funding and an existing system of state minimal social standards are distinguishing traits of the Belarusian healthcare system.

Thanks to the introduction of this system medical aid is provided to urban and rural Belarusians in equal measure. The introduction of healthcare financing per capita allows patients to receive medical aid in full regardless of their place of residence.

Six social standards in the area of healthcare have been introduced in Belarus. All of them are observed (budget spending on healthcare per capita, availability of primary-level doctors, hospital beds, drugstores, ambulance teams, and automobile transport).

The Belarusian healthcare system is one of a kind: all kinds of medical aid – initial aid, specialized aid, high-technology aid, palliative care, and medical social aid – are provided depending on budget appropriations per capita. No other healthcare system offers such a broad range of services using one source of funding while staying effective.

In the last few years the Belarusian healthcare system improved its position in the international medical community thanks to accomplishments in the area of maternity and child welfare, thanks to results of high-technology interventions in transplantology, cardiac surgery, traumatology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, oncology and oncohematology, thanks to the development and introduction of innovative methods to treat diseases, thanks to investment projects in the pharmaceutical industry that help present new Belarusian medications on the home market.

Out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index, Belarus is ranked 53rd. Life expectancy has increased from 70.4 years in 2010 to 74.5 years in 2019.

New unique technologies and sophisticated interventions are being introduced into medical practice:

Thus, 2019 saw:

  • 19 955 cardiosurgical interventions on the heart and large vessels, including 81.3% in the regions;
  • 6,142 hip arthroplasties;
  • 1,254 knee arthroplasties;
  • 2,017 high-tech neurosurgical interventions;
  • 3,846 high-tech interventions in the course of treating cancerous diseases;
  • 2,814 high-tech interventions on ocular organs;
  • 52 heart transplantations, 16 of them for foreigners;
  • 374 kidney transplantations, including for 11 children;
  • 93 liver transplantations;
  • 9 lung transplantations;
  • 1 multivisceral transplantation (kidney and pancreas).

Apart from that, six kidney transplantations and eight liver transplantations from living relatives were performed.

In terms of the number of organ transplantations per 1 million residents Belarus is in the lead not only in the post-Soviet space. Belarus is ahead of many European countries. As many as 50 transplantations per 1 million residents are performed in Belarus while the average figure is 55.9 in Europe, 10.1 in Russia, and 3.2 in Ukraine. Surgeries to transplant livers and hearts have become routine practice.

A unique procedure for growing artificial trachea has been created and three successful surgeries to transplant it into cancer patients have been performed.

In 2018 the first heart retransplantation for a patient suffering from transplantat vasculopathy was performed. A myoseptectomy procedure using 3D models for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was introduced in 2019.

Digital healthcare

The rapid penetration of information and communications technologies in all branches of the economy and the formation of the information environment necessitated a digital transformation of the healthcare system as well.

A project to create a digital healthcare system is being implemented in the country. Its implementation will allow patients to use digital prescriptions and documents. It will make getting doctor appointments easier. It will provide access to personal online accounts where information about test results and recommendations will be stored. Information technologies can resolve the problem of queues – over 900,000 doctor appointments are scheduled online every month.

The digital healthcare system will advance medical aid in Belarus to new heights. It will reduce the time needed to make decisions on diagnosing and treating patients. It will improve the effectiveness of the healthcare system as a whole.