A good degree of protection

Belarus leads among CIS countries for most favourable conditions of maternity and childbirth
By Tatiana Smirnova

According to Save the Children international annual ranking, our country is in 26th place among 160 countries worldwide. Ms. Svetlana Soroka, the chief obstetrician-gynaecologist at the Department Rendering Medical Care to Mothers and Children, within the Ministry of Health, tells us, “Belarus has one of the most advanced obstetrical-gynaecological and paediatric services, preserving the Soviet model of health care, which is recognised by experts as the best in the world for affordable health care.” She adds that the level of infant, child and maternal mortality in Belarus is third best among developed countries worldwide. “Last year, the infant mortality rate reached 3.4 per thousand newborns: one of the best in the CIS and close to the death rate for under fives (4.4 per thousand last year).”

In recent years, the country has greatly improved social and health protection for mothers and children, giving social support to families from birth onwards. Major state programmes provide financial assistance to families of all sizes in acquiring housing — including purchase and renovation — and in free provision of food to children up to the age of 2 years, via targeted social assistance. Today’s system of state benefits covers 25 percent of children, with 99 percent under the age of 3 years.

“These measures, alongside the favourable age structure of the female population, undoubtedly, are contributing to the stabilisation of fertility,” notes Ms. Soroka. “Since 2004, all regions have seen an increase in the birth rate. In 2010, there were 107,279 births, including 1,027 cases of twins, 18 triplets and one set of quadruplets. In 2011, there were 108,356 births, with 1007 cases of twins and 29 sets of triplets. Last year, the number of births stood at 114,897, with twins born in 1178 cases, triplets in 45 cases and one set of quadruplets.”
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