Meeting with WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab

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The World Health Organization has noted Belarus’ considerable accomplishments in the healthcare system. These matters were discussed during the meeting of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab on 21 October.

Thanks to the well-organized vertical healthcare system Belarus has achieved significant progress. “Among other things we have ensured virtually equal access to healthcare services for everyone,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. The head of state noted that, unlike in some other states, in Belarus “a person will not be left to die in the street if he or she has no health insurance.” “Such things do not happen in our country. We provide equal healthcare to everyone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

Belarus is rightfully proud of its accomplishments with regard to the healthcare system. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he would like Zsuzsanna Jakab and WHO experts to get familiar with the innovations assimilated in the country. The government closely monitors maternal mortality, birth rate, and infant mortality figures. Every fact is investigated. No maternal mortality cases have been registered so far this year. One case was registered in 2014 when the life was lost due to objective reasons. No maternal mortality cases at childbirth had been registered before that. “The accomplishment has been difficult to secure. As far as these figures are concerned, Belarus is one of the world’s top three countries and stands next to developed countries,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The complete modernization of the healthcare system is another accomplishment secured in Belarus. “We have equipped our doctors with state-of-the-art technologies,” said the President. Close attention has been paid to cardiology and oncology, which are the most troublesome areas as far as morbidity rates are concerned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that the approach to healthcare had spoiled the Belarusians a bit and discourages individuals from taking good care of their health on their own. “Everything is free. The state carries in its arms every person,” noted the President. He went on saying that he had repeatedly stated that every person should be mindful of their own health since the healthcare system’s operation costs a lot for the government. Besides, the state cannot objectively do all the necessary things a person should do. This is why the Belarusian government is intent on encouraging healthy lifestyles and the rejection of bad habits, sports are encouraged.

Apart from that, a large-scale campaign has been launched in Belarus to fight drugs abuse. “We have very strict legislation particularly against those, who distribute narcotics. I think drugs abuse is a problem for the healthcare system and the entire humanity this millennium. This is why we practice a no-nonsense attitude to the problem,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Summing up results, the President stated that a lot had been done in Belarus with regard to healthcare in the difficult times after the Soviet Union fall. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was confident that the visit of the WHO Regional Director for Europe and her colleagues to Belarus would be useful. Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked her for the WHO’s initiatives. In particular, he mentioned the new WHO policy framework Health 2020. Aleksandr Lukashenko appreciated the program and assured that Belarus fully endorses the program.

In turn, Zsuzsanna Jakab thanked the President for the opportunity to hold a WHO ministerial conference in Belarus and noted the high-level representation of participants. According to her, they want to learn from the experience and achievements of Belarus in the sphere of healthcare.

The WHO Regional Director also thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko "for the leadership and the efforts aimed at improving the healthcare system which have already yielded obvious results."

"The political component in the WHO is important, and we believe that Belarus has made absolutely the right political choice by investing in healthcare. This is a very good decision,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab.

The purpose of the organization is to achieve zero maternal mortality at childbirth. This is something what Belarus has already achieved. Zsuzsanna Jakab also congratulated the Belarusian healthcare system on an almost zero infant mortality at birth, which is a very high achievement not only in Europe but in the world.

She also drew attention to the level of the immunization of children in Belarus which stands at 98-99% and is one of the highest rates in the world. In addition, WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab praised Belarus’ efforts to combat HIV and tuberculosis, and the significant results that the country has already achieved in these areas.