Cautious optimism, what’s good about Belarusian medicine and what kind of vaccine the President is ready to use. What else the Head of State spoke about during his visit to two hospitals near Minsk.
Last week, two days of Aleksandr Lukashenko’s work schedule were devoted to medical topics. First, the Head of State held a meeting on countering the spread of the coronavirus infection. Later he visited two clinics in Borovlyany: the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Oncology and Medical Radiology named after N. N. Alexandrov and the Minsk Regional Clinical Hospital.
The President visited the red zone, inquired how patients with COVID are treated and assured himself that patients with other problems are not forgotten. Moreover, Aleksandr Lukashenko personally and from the bottom of his heart thanked the doctors for their courageous struggle against the insidious virus, “I see that you are facing great difficulties, like everywhere else, probably, but you are coping with them. Therefore, thank you so much... The fact that we will break through is certain, but I would like it faster.”
Everything according to the plan
The presidential instruction to the Healthcare Ministry not to stop the provision of planned treatments, operations and consultations to patients at a recent meeting sounded clear and unambiguous. During his conversation with doctors, Aleksandr Lukashenko returned to the topic, “Imagine that this is a war and we live in wartime. You can’t cut people off from doctors now. If a person is not admitted to the clinic or hospital, they begin to worry.
Therefore, your meeting with a sick person, a patient or an old woman who has just arrived is already a step towards recovery... How can we postpone oncology? What does planned surgical intervention or consultation mean? This is oncology! It’s scarier than any COVID...”
According to the Director of the Centre, Sergei Polyakov, in the current difficult COVID period, it is the Borovlyany that are ready to take over the provision of all cancer care in the country.
He also added that foreign cancer patients also come to Belarus for treatment. Aleksandr Lukashenko reacted to this remark as follows,
“The ‘Great’ West with its human rights agenda is obsessed with money. We cannot even comprehend it sometimes. They charge you for every this and that, they rip you off. We do these surgeries just as well as they do.”
We can be a model and indicator for many countries. This moment is always of interest to our foreign partners, since there is no such system of centralised oncological care abroad.
Director of the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Oncology and Medical Radiology Sergei Polyakov
It’s impossible to make money on people’s health! The Head of State repeated this message once again when the conversation at the N.N. Alexandrov Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Oncology and Medical Radiology tackled vaccines, including those against COVID-19, the politicisation of this issue in the world and the desire to make big money from the problem. The President is convinced that healthcare should be an absolutely international domain. He also added,
“Why are there so many deaths in rich America? Because the healthcare system was destroyed there, healthcare is a market where everyone competes for patients — the richer, the better. Here is the result.”
The focus of special attention
From the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre of Oncology and Medical Radiology, Aleksandr Lukashenko went to the Minsk Regional Clinical Hospital — one of the leading clinics in the country. The pride of the local doctors is reconstructive surgery, which deals with the extremities. But now, of course, the main focus is on the treatment of patients with coronavirus infection. Aleksandr Lukashenko inquired in detail whether there are enough resuscitation beds, oxygen and ventilators to treat COVID patients. The head doctor of the clinic, Aleksandr Linkevich, said that 220 beds were allocated in the hospital for patients with coronavirus, 37 of them are intensive care beds. Less than half of the 36 available ventilators are in use.
The presidential route also included the red zone, where patients with COVID-19 are being treated. Today, the clinic has just over 200 such patients, every tenth in a serious condition. Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke warmly to them and wished them a speedy recovery.
Optimism in the fight against coronavirus
Talking with doctors, the Head of State noted that the main result of the meeting on the epidemiological situation was a feeling of cautious optimism in the dynamics of the incidence of COVID-19, “There is growth, but not as strong as two weeks ago. We feel this in the country as a whole.”
A separate emphasis was placed on vaccination, “It’s absolutely clear to us from practice that vaccinated people get sick less often, and if they do, then there isn’t usually a crisis. This is a clinically proven fact.”
At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin was vaccinated with ‘Sputnik V’ while Joe Biden was vaccinated with Pfizer, “And what about me? We agreed with Dmitry Pinevich [Healthcare Minister] that as soon as the Belarusian vaccine is ready, we will get jabbed. So, please, work on our vaccine. I am ready to get vaccinated, but only with our product, only with the Belarusian vaccine. This is my honest opinion.”
The Belarusian way in the fight against coronavirus
During a visit to clinics in Borovlyany, the Head of State drew particular attention to the problems in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in countries neighbouring Belarus, where the centralised healthcare system has not been preserved. He gave examples, “Take Latvia — it is a disaster. It is being ruined. Take our dear Ukraine — you see what is going on there, their healthcare system was destroyed.”
He noted that the system of providing medical care has been preserved in Belarus, and, as time has shown, this was the right decision. Its presence enables the country to overcome the difficulties associated with the pandemic, successfully save and treat people, “We benefit from good management, centralisation, a vertical structure in a good sense of this word, mutual assistance and Soviet-style competition, not this cut-throat approach.”
By Dmitry Umpirovich, Yevgeny Kononovich Photos by BELTA