Hospital travelling to patients

Vitebsk doctors to examine residents of Smolensk Region

Smolensk Region suffers from an acute lack of medical personnel in some areas, affecting access to treatment and early diagnosis. Where illness is life-threatening, the results can be profound. Neighbouring Vitebsk doctors have come to rescue, since there is a co-operative public health agreement between Vitebsk and Smolensk Regions. Recently, Vitebsk’s Regional Diagnostic Centre purchased a mobile cancer-screening unit, for use by doctors ‘in the field’.



Doctors have been exchanging visits and agreeing various spheres of interaction for oncological diagnostics. Belarusians are to carry out prophylactic medical examinations and occupational health examinations in Smolensk Region, and help rehabilitate Russian patients living in Vitebsk Region.

A brigade of doctors is to be attached to the uniquely designed MAZ truck, screening for oncological diseases. The vehicle has four rooms: oncological, gynaecological, ultrasound-diagnostics, and a laboratory. It has now passed tests in Lepel District and, according to Yuri Derkach, the Head of Public Health Services for Vitebsk Region’s Executive Committee, residents of Smolensk Region will soon be receiving visits. He explains, “We’ve developed the necessary agreement with colleagues and will now tackle our mission. Our doctors are covered by Russian obligatory medical insurance and will be paid for their work. Meanwhile, the accuracy and quality of diagnostics will be guaranteed.”

Prophylactic medical examinations and occupational health examinations are being organised, with certain Smolensk Region enterprises and districts identified for visits. Beshenkovichi Central Regional Hospital has been chosen to send therapists, ophthalmologists, and ear, nose and throat doctors to Smolensk Region, among other experts, carrying out examinations.

The Federal Trauma Centre in Smolensk conducts hi-tech operations on endo-prosthesis replacement, such as hip replacements. However, it does not provide postsurgical rehabilitation, which may last several months. Patients will be able to move to Vitebsk Region for recuperative care: not only following joint replacements but after heart or neurological surgery.

Three medical institutions have been chosen: Zheleznyaki sanatorium, in Vitebsk Region, will receive about 100 Russians this summer. The first Russian patients have already arrived at Krupenino, in Beshenkovichi District, and the Vitebsk Regional Diagnostic Centre has opened its new rehabilitation department. After repair of a second building, there will be 70 beds for Russian patients, notes Mr. Derkach. Belarusian doctors plan to rehabilitate Russian youngsters in Vetraz, in Postavy District, receiving more than 200 children this summer.

Residents of the Union State have equal rights to health services, irrespective of whether they are in the territory of Russia or Belarus. Russians coming to Belarus to visit relatives or to work will be rendered first aid if needed, without any difficulty, and can receive free treatment in state hospitals. The same applies to Belarusians in Russia, as is fixed by an inter-governmental agreement signed in 2006, in St. Petersburg.


By Sergey Golesnik

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