Healthcare in Belarus

 

 

Compared to other European countries, the standard of healthcare in Belarus is poor and fails to attend to the needs of its population. This started during the era of Communism in the country, where the health sector was severely overlooked and medical personnel were incompetently trained. 

The national Healthcare system in the Republic of Belarus is under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and since the country’s independence in 1991, no significant changes have been made in terms of medical services and facilities. Management of the healthcare sector is the responsibility of various health departments that belong to the Regional and the Minsk Municipal Executive Committees. Funds for public healthcare primarily come from general taxation while the state budget for this sector should not be less than ten percent. All Belarusian nationals are entitled to free healthcare services but unlike most European countries, expats bound to Belarus are not required by law to contribute to the national health budget. 

Healthcare Coverage for Expats 

According to the law, all Belarusian citizens and registered residents (including foreign nationals) are entitled to free healthcare from state-funded medical institutions, such as hospitals and health centres. As such, employees are not obliged to pay contributions to the health budget anymore. Since the health sector is administered by the Belarusian government, they also decide what kind of health services every society group receives. Belarusian nationals have the liberty to avail of private health insurance in order to complement the public health system. However, due to the insufficient income of most citizens, they cannot afford to buy such health insurance policies. Additionally, since private healthcare in Belarus is minimal, it is only enjoyed by a small minority of employees in the country. 

Doctors and Medical Services 

Belarus has around 111,000 junior medical staff and nearly 41,700 doctors. Despite the high number of medical professionals, the country still suffers from unequal distribution of treatment. Some doctors in Belarus choose their patients based on traditional medical criteria such as complications, survival rate and age. There are also some sad instances when doctors choose the wealthier patient over the poor one. Doctors based in rural areas are capable of providing primary and emergency medical services as well as routine health checks, maternity care and immunisations. For more complex treatments or procedures, patients are advised to go to major cities such as Minsk where there are specialists. 

Hospitals in Belarus 

There are over 830 hospitals in Belarus that provide around 125,000 beds. There are also 511 outpatient clinics, 422 rural hospitals, 372 poly-clinics and 732 outpatient departments inside hospitals. Expats should bear in mind that the condition of medical facilities are still far from Western standards or from the quality of those found in other European countries. Most of the time, patients are required to provide their own food and cutlery. Though many deem that hospitals in Belarus are below average, there are still several that provide excellent services and some of them are: 

Medicines and Pharmacies 

There is a wide range of privately and government owned pharmacies in Belarus. Chemists in this country are also known as Pharmaceya and currently, there are seven government owned companies that manufacture drugs, 1,500 pharmacies and more than 4,300 chemists. A majority of the locals pay upfront for their medicines but the government provides free or subsidised drugs to those with long-term illnesses.

 

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