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05 May 2021, 14:07

State funding ensures high vaccination levels in Belarus

MINSK, 5 May (BelTA) – A high level of vaccination in Belarus is ensured because state funding is used to buy the drugs, BelTA learned from Yulia Avkhukova, Head of the Central Office for Budget and Finance Oversight of the State Control Committee of Belarus.

Representatives of the supreme oversight agencies of Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland participated in a videoconference on 5 May to discuss results of a parallel international audit focusing on protecting the population from infectious diseases.

In 2020-2021 the supreme oversight agencies of Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland worked to evaluate the existing system of protection of the population from infectious diseases and evaluated how effectively the relevant appropriations were spent. The audit was initiated by Slovakia where oversight agencies had previously checked the effectiveness of vaccine usage. The sides decided to arrange an international audit and share the best practices, the official said. In Belarus the central state budget allocates money to buy vaccines in a centralized manner. The approach ensures a sufficiently high level of vaccination and respectively forewarns morbidity.

According to the source, flu vaccination prevented over 140,000 cases of the disease in Belarus in 2019. The flu incidence rate among the vaccinated people was 12.3 times lower than among those who did not get the vaccine. Centralized vaccination ensures a higher level of immunization than people buying the drugs with their own money, Yulia Avkhukova stressed.

Results of the audit in Belarus indicate that the system meant to protect the population from infectious diseases operates rather well as a whole, however, a number of problems have been unearthed. It turned out that applications for buying vaccines were not always made in accordance with existing requirements in the regions. Excessive sums were earmarked for buying the drugs as a result. For instance, vaccine leftovers in healthcare institutions were not taken into account in Brest Oblast. The number of people, who are supposed to get the vaccine, was unjustifiably inflated in Gomel Oblast. In Minsk applications for buying vaccines at the expense of the central state budget included drugs, which are bought at the expense of the municipal budget. The audit found out that multidose medications were not always effectively used, particularly in the course of vaccinating citizens living in the countryside.

The information the audit has produced has been analyzed and will be summarized in a report that will offer recommendations on addressing the detected shortcomings.

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