MINSK, 5 December (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko raised the question of the quality of healthcare services and approaches to treating people in district hospitals and announced surprise inspections as he heard out a report by Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich, BelTA has learned.
“I want to warn you that in the near future I will put together a mobile group of independent experts who will check the healthcare system and pay surprise visits to randomly chosen hospitals. And I have invited you, your deputies. Natalya Ivanovna [Natalya Kochanova] has been in charge of healthcare matters since those times, as well as the deputy prime minister... You will have only yourselves to blame. We will inspect these hospitals,” the Belarusian leader said.
In this regard, the head of state told a story about a woman who got in a hospital in Shklov District and was dying. Thanks to the intervention of the president, she was saved, and she is out of danger now. “When she was in the Shklov hospital, I practically pulled her out of the morgue. Now she is disconnected from the mechanical ventilator. Her recovery is on track,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“One gets the impression, Dmitry Leonidovich, that you have got carried away a little bit too much by self-advancement as a minister and that you focus too much on keeping up the facade. Are you going to treat people the way I have always demanded of you? Certain things ring the alarm bell to me. People in high places receive good treatment, but what about ordinary people, patients in district hospitals? There are village first-aid stations run by feldshers who walk around and prescribe warm compresses using hard-boiled eggs, a hundred grams of liquor to drink, as in the old days, I saw it. They have nothing else,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko shared the details of the story with this woman. The story came to his attention when the president was working in his home village. He saw a man running down the street. “The man was screaming; he was saying my last name, my first name and patronymic. I wanted to find out what happened. The man handed over a letter asking me to save someone. As far as I understood he meant his wife or some other woman. It turned out that she was in the Shklov hospital, practically in the morgue living her last minutes. Naturally, I couldn't but intervene. I sent my doctor to the hospital who later came back saying that her chances to survive were close to zero. I ordered to deal with this case. The woman was transferred to Mogilev. I got updates on her condition almost every evening. Although she is a troubled person, she is still a human being, at least I treated her this way,” the head of state said.
The president explained that he was closely following this story also because he wanted to check how the higher healthcare institution would handle this case. “As I was informed yesterday (I asked about it specifically), she was disconnected from the ventilator. She had a bunch of diseases, including bilateral pneumonia, and something else. That man told me that she drank the wrong vodka. She was treated but she had not recovered completely when they took her back home. She drank the wrong vodka and she was taken to intensive care in critical condition,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said sharing the details.
This case prompted the president to pay more attention to the state of affairs in district hospitals: “In fact, Shklov District is a place that I often visit. Naturally, when the president visits a certain place, the healthcare system there is brought into proper shape. One question keeps haunting me the entire week: if this hospital is in such a condition, what about other district hospitals?”
“I want to warn you all that there will be no mercy for you. And you will not get away by treating people in high places. Take it as you wish. The whole country will hear it today, and not only our country. Many countries are watching us. Millions of people will hear this. And please draw the appropriate conclusions. Hiding behind someone's back or, as I often say, lying low will not work. We should not show that we are better than we actually are. People are a priority in our country. So people need to be treated properly. We have everything in place for that. We are well-equipped to provide good-quality healthcare services. And the COVID-19 pandemic showed that we have good doctors and good medical education. If medical students fail to learn something at university, they can make up for it at work, because we have a good system of mentoring. I do not want to draw deep and far-reaching conclusions from this case, but this situation prompts us to think about it seriously,” the Belarusian leader concluded.