MINSK, 1 June (BelTA) – The funds provided by the World Bank will be used to purchase personal protective gear and to equip emergency wards, the press service of the Healthcare Ministry told BelTA after a ceremony to sign the respective documents that was held online for the first time in the history of the ministry.
Healthcare Minister Vladimir Karanik noted that “this is an example of very fast and professional project preparation without direct communication”. Not only the signing ceremony, but also all communication on the project was held online, by means of teleconferencing.
The World Bank's funds (€90 million) are meant to finance Belarus' coronavirus response project. “The money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment and equipment for emergency wards, and to hold an awareness raising campaign,” the press service noted.
The project encompasses three components. “This includes partial refund of the expenses on personal protective equipment and tests, upgrade and re-equipment of emergency departments so that they will be up to the challenge,” Vladimir Karanik said.
In his words, some of equipment in Belarusian hospitals should be replaced and this project allows doing it simultaneously all over the country. Thanks to this, emergency room doctors will be able to use top-notch equipment. Emergency rooms will be provided with computed tomography scans, diagnostic ultrasound equipment, breathing systems, defibrillators, and infusion pumps. Emergency room staff will have absolutely everything they need. The equipment will be delivered in the near future to all municipal, district and regional hospitals that applied for re-equipment. While the Healthcare Ministry was working on the project, it took stock of the physical infrastructure of domestic healthcare facilities.
At first, the World Bank offered €20 million. “However, after studying our documents and substantiation, it upheld the Belarusian coronavirus response plan and the project was expanded. The pandemic will go away, while people will always need medical assistance,” Vladimir Karanik said.
Despite the epidemiological situation, work is underway to set up inter-district centers or reference clinics. There are plans to open 16-18 top-notch reference clinics in Belarus. Ten of them are already up and running. All of them are located outside Minsk and oblast capitals.
“A reference clinic should have an angiography scan, a computed tomography scan, a magnetic resonance imaging scan, a well-equipped surgical and emergency ward with endoscopic equipment that can be used to perform laparoscopy, and diagnostic ultrasound,” Vladimir Karanik said. In other words, in terms of equipment and staff qualifications, all reference clinics should be on par with a municipal or regional hospital. “The ultimate goal is to enable every resident to get access to high-quality medical care within an hour's drive. No matter whether this person lives in Minsk or a village, ‘the golden hour' rule should be observed,” he added.