Holiday of kindness

Visiting Praleska Children’s Medical Rehabilitation Centre in the Volozhin District’s Rakov, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko notes that children remain priority in state social policy
By Veniamin Mikheev

The Head of State toured accommodation and medical facilities at the centre, chatting easily with children and wishing them a ‘Happy New Year’, as well as presenting table games, decorations and sweets. The children will now be able to watch their favourite cartoons and fairy-tales on a new home theatre system.

Mr. Lukashenko and his younger son Nikolai took part in a children’s New Year party and danced with the little patients at the centre. Artistes from the Belarusian State Circus presented a show, and the children were delighted by a large festive cake from the President, cut to accompany tea.

The children also wished the President a ‘Happy New Year’ and handed over a gift on behalf of Minsk children, while a girl presented Mr. Lukashenko with her picture of a magical bird of happiness. Praleska Children’s Spa opened in 1987, for children with digestive and respiratory problems. In April 2005, it was renamed as the Praleska Municipal Children’s Centre of Medical Rehabilitation. Renovations were recently completed, giving the centre three new departments: for children suffering from gastrointestinal tract problems, diseases of the respiratory system, and impairments to vision. The centre’s medical base has been expanded and it now boasts playgrounds where children can play tennis and other sports, and take exercise therapy. Entertainments are also available for younger children.

The Head of State is keen to see this and other similar institutions used fully. Belarus’ Health Minister, Vasily Zharko, reported that this centre has everything it needs to treat and rehabilitate children, and is being used to the full.

Mr. Lukashenko pointed out the need to optimise staff at medical institutions, since the ratio of staff to patients is rather high at present. He believes that heads of healthcare institutions should operate with as many employees as needed, without raising the payroll. “You can work independently if you want to but the results must be efficient. Decide how to spend your funding but don’t take this money for granted and lay claims on us,” noted the President.

Addressing officials, Mr. Lukashenko demanded that they act now rather than waiting for additional regulatory acts. He said, “We’ll see what happens after the first three months.”

Mr. Zharko noted that, over the past year, the number of those employed in the healthcare sphere has been reduced by almost 1,500 people: most cuts have been made in engineering and staff services, as well as among accountants and economists.
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