Report of Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich
The Belarusian healthcare system performed well amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich to receive his report on 5 December.
“Thank you for your work during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have revisited this issue more than once. My gratitude to the healthcare system and doctors is not for treating people, but for learning how to treat patients with COVID-19. Today we can say that Belarus tackled the issue better than anyone in the world. It is not just because our healthcare system adjusted on time. We all know that very well. It once again shows that the healthcare system works well under close control,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
However, the head of state told a story about a woman who got in a hospital in Shklov District and was dying. Thanks to the intervention of the President, she was saved, and she is out of danger now. “One gets the impression, Dmitry Leonidovich, that you have got carried away a little bit too much by self-advancement as a minister and that you focus too much on keeping up the facade. Are you going to treat people the way I have always demanded of you? Certain things ring the alarm bell to me. People in high places receive good treatment, but what about ordinary people, patients in district hospitals? I want to warn you all that there will be no mercy for you. No treatment of people in high places will save you. Hiding behind someone's back or, as I often say, crawling under the plinth will not work for you. There is no need in pretending to be super active or great. We have a state for people. You need to treat people in the first place. We have everything we need to treat them,” the head of state said.
The country’s healthcare system will be inspected in the near future. On the President’s instructions, a mobile group will be set up to include independent specialists, who will check the healthcare system, and come to hospitals with unexpected inspections.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also suggested discussing issues related to the current situation. “Recently we have discussed security issues of our country. These are very important and relevant issues today. Everyone is involved, including healthcare. From medical kits to the readjustment of medical facilities. We start working with military medics, and the military with us. There should be a very intensive exchange,” the President said. “You are a military surgeon yourself. You know how important it is. We have to be prepared for anything. Anything can happen, and there is nothing to divide here. What is the situation here?”
The President also drew attention to the current issue of respiratory infections, with these processes taking place against the background of the still circulating COVID-19.
Vaccines were another issue discussed at the meeting. “Thanks to the Chinese people and my friend Xi Jinping for helping us. At the same time we are working on the production of vaccines, we are developing our own base in order to move away from imports. This is the topic of import substitution,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested discussing the issue of drug supplies. “It seems that somehow we have reached 50% or more of the supply of our medicines with foreign substances. Have we stopped here or is there any further progress?” he asked.
The President also paid special attention to the development of the infrastructure both in healthcare and education. Much has already been done in this direction in recent years - the necessary facilities have been built and equipped. Now it is necessary to give top priority to salaries and stop building ‘palaces’, with the focus on the construction or modernization of the facilities where they are most needed.
The President also touched upon the staffing issue. “What is the real staffing situation?” the President asked. He stressed that the percentage of employer-sponsored education has increased significantly in recent years. “We are moving toward generally recruiting doctors who will definitely graduate, and we will know where they are going to work. They will come and they will already know where they will work because they will have a contract. We need to train doctors who will work for our country, for our motherland,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.