Once Belarus repulsed pessimistic predictions that denounced it to be “another Hiroshima” after the Chernobyl. Now it’s clear: this cup passed from us. International Conference “Chernobyl: look back to advance” held in IAEA headquarters in Vienna settled it finally. Over 100 experts from most Chernobyl-affected countries together with representatives of WHO, UNDP, World Bank and other organizations admitted: casualty numbers were exaggerated. Already experienced, medics apprehended increase in number of leukemia cases in Belarus, yet their apprehension was groundless. Chernobyl resulted in thyroid cancer for those who were exposed to radiation in childhood. Still, this isn’t a global problem and doesn’t blot out the situation in general. It would be enough to say that over 98 per cent of 1152 thyroid cancer-sick children have survived.
As you may know, Belarus is a transit country, a bridge between the West and the East. And this duality can also be seen when we speak of health. On one hand, we are best among all former Soviet states in nearly all medical parameters. Say, child mortality is the lowest among CIS states. As for infectious diseases, Belarus is also the most safe as compared to Russia.
Just look at the spurt by Belarus national pediatric oncology and hematology center (besides, it is unparalleled in Europe)! Before 1997 only every second sick child used to survive there, today this number jumped to 72 per cent.
Yes, Belarusian women are not much willing to bear many children, still, this year the number of deliveries was greater than that of abortions, for the first time in many years. One can interpret this trends as a chance to win the demography battle. According to medics, solution to sterility problem will contribute to this too; statistics says up to 20 per cent of married couples suffer from sterility. Placing the greater emphasis to disease prevention instead of treatment, is another positive factor. Even the worst Belarusian evil — cardiovascular diseases can be defeated, says Georgy Sidorenko, luminary of Belarusian cardiology. Even when you cross the line of yeasty years. It’s evident that society is ageing.
We have nowhere to go from European reality, where half the population will turn 80 in several decades, thinks Alexander Khapaliuk, M.D., chief geriatrician at healthcare ministry and chair of clinical pharmacology and therapy department at Belarusian Postgraduate Medical Academy. Today there are more than 1.8 million elderly people in Belarus.
Still, life goes on.
by Galina Basova