Health care is a mirror of the problems of the whole system.
In the Belarusian health care, despite the completion by the authorities of show trials of corrupt officials, increasingly more scandalous cases keep happening.
On November 27, a man was found dead near the emergency room of the Hrodna Regional Psychiatry and Narcology Center. The man who turned to the Center’s doctors the night before, but was refused help.
Just a couple of days before this, the media reported a scandalous case in the cardiology department of the 1st city hospital in Vitsebsk. An elderly patient fell out of bed: the bed simply turned upside down, as it was broken and tied from beneath with a rope.
As hospital staff declared in their defense: “What if we do not actually have those beds as they show on TV?”
The sanitary condition of hospitals in the regions also leaves much to be desired: in the same Vitsebsk hospital #1, as the media note, “cockroaches run around in packs.”
What is the reason that the real situation in domestic medicine is different from the picture that we see on TV?
Professional doctor, activist of the European Belarus civil campaign Alena Tserashkova has answered the questions of Charter97.org:
- In Belarus, everything is different on the ground from what is shown on television. That is why, during the so-called elections, not all candidates are shown on TV. We live in a country of social lies, and there’s nothing surprising, because dictatorship always happens that way.
If we talk about a specific case in Hrodna, then I will honestly tell you, here the press is a little tense. Why? Because the man was found near a psychiatric center, where, in principle, they cannot conduct an appropriate examination of the patients, who are, let me say so, non-profile.
Of course, it would be better if the person remained alive, but the doctors could also be understood, as they simply do not fully own the entire spectrum of diagnostic equipment. Yes, and we also have a clear narrow specialization.
As for the beds in hospitals from which patients fall - of course, this is already beyond the boundaries of good and evil, because it creates the feeling that our health care system is supported only for its own existence, and not to help the patient.
Unfortunately, here they will first paint the grass, then paint the grass again, and only then they will spend money on equipment and what people need. Indeed, the success of hospitals is determined precisely by these indicators. The situation is the same in schools. Everywhere is the same thing.
When everything is beautiful outside, the hospital administration is considered successful, and as for the things happening inside - sometimes medical officials know about them, and sometimes they don’t. After all, no one will boast about bad things.
Periodically, hospitals are faced with the fact that the departments are overloaded, and then all the beds that could be stroke off are used. And we are in the grip. On the one hand - you can throw out the trash so that no one is hurt, on the other hand - you will have no room to place patients but the sofa in your office. Because plans for hospitalization and beds turnover are being implemented. And patients are not always admitted to hospitals in an adequate state. There are also aggressive people and inadequate people who do not spare the furniture they come in contact with. And all this one after another leads to such cases.
Therefore, there is nothing good in this. But medicine cannot change itself. Medicine is part of the system, and changes will come when something in the country changes.
- How does the outflow of specialists affect the quality of the Belarusian medicine?
- The lack of personnel affects quality, but does not exempt us from quantitative indicators. If there were no planned indicators, then medical care would become less accessible.
Perhaps its quality would increase. But in the conditions when people get low salaries, this way is unjustified. When we want to save a nation, we must take care of it.
At our place, doctors are plugging all holes and embrasures with themselves. Some cover the scope of work aimed at two pay rates. Because there are just not enough people for the most urgent, for the most necessary things.
And the duties of doctors include health education, disease prevention. There should be a normal program for the prevention of diseases among the population, otherwise we will continue to walk in a vicious circle.
Add to this the increased retirement age, and get a tendency to reduce the nation. This is the way to extinction. Therefore, if I were in the shoes of the authorities, I would consider why people are decreasing and what to do so that they stay. But I’m afraid that the only idea that comes to our authorities’ mind is to ban health workers from leaving.
- Aren't the authorities afraid that the crisis in medicine will hit the quality of treatment they receive?
- I believe that only those of them who directly face serious health problems are aware of this. But yes, there can be a reaction to their actions from the health care system.
As long as their problems do not go beyond the everyday problems associated with age, stress, they simply do not think about it.
Our officials will think about it when it turns out that they have an oncological disease, and most likely not even them, but their relatives. That is, it will require some specialized assistance, to provide which there used to be the people.
Then, having faced this directly and having failed to find opportunities within the country, they will realize that Belarus does not have such a level of medicine.
It’s good when people can imagine finding help elsewhere. It’s bad that people don’t understand that not everyone can do it.
We have a wonderful Constitution, where many practical things are declared, for example, social protection. But for some reason we have people who consider themselves superior to the Constitution. And when the Constitution does not work in our territory, they find themselves another territory. This is where the problem is.
- Does Belarus need changes in the healthcare sector?
- These changes are not needed even tomorrow, but yesterday, no matter how trite it sounds. Each day of delay will respond several times over with a large period that will have to catch up. As Maya Plisetskaya said about her profession, about ballet: “When you haven’t trained for a day, the next day is only needed to return to yesterday’s fitness.”
The same thing happens in medicine, a disease once acquired echoes to a person for a very long time. People can be helped to maintain their health only if medicine is focused on a mass patient, and not on elitism. While we are treating only those who can afford this for themselves, we are losing the nation.