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13 September 2021, 17:00

Opinion: Sanctions can hurt Belarus' healthcare system

Vyacheslav Shilo. An archive photo
Vyacheslav Shilo. An archive photo

MINSK, 13 September (BelTA) – The healthcare system has not yet felt the impact of European sanctions, since the government earnestly fulfills its social security commitments despite economic difficulties, Chairman of the Belarusian Trade Union of Healthcare Workers Vyacheslav Shilo told reporters on the sidelines of the international conference “Impact of Global Economic Challenges on Social and Labor Rights” which is underway in Minsk on 13-14 September.

“Healthcare is a public sector. Stable operation of this sector depends on how many taxes are transferred to the budget. Therefore, the sanctions imposed against our enterprises can negatively affect tax payments, which will result in cutting funding. Fortunately, everything is being done in our country to ensure that healthcare spending is not reduced. More than 4% of GDP is channeled into the healthcare system. In 2020-2021, when our healthcare workers received bonuses in accordance with Decree No. 131, the costs of operating the system increased significantly.

In January-July, more than Br589 million was paid to healthcare professionals in bonuses alone. This burdens the economy and regional budgets. Therefore, the imposition of sanctions is unacceptable. Sanctions will hurt not only healthcare workers, but also ordinary citizens,” Vyacheslav Shilo said.

He added that the execution of the budget is going on as planned; the financing of the healthcare system, the implementation of state programs are constantly monitored.

The forum was initiated by the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus. The idea was supported by the government and the employers' association.

The conference is attended by leading experts in the field of international law, representatives of the government, the judiciary, academia, political scientists, foreign ambassadors, heads of international trade union associations, and direct representatives of those businesses affected by the sanctions.

Plans are in place to work out a resolution to be sent to the EU, the ILO and the UN.

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