Belarus has a poor standard of healthcare and fails to meet its populationís needs. Healthcare was neglected during Communist rule and consequently staffs are poorly trained, technology is outmoded and healthcare buildings are not very hygienic. In addition, Belarus has had to cope with the added pressure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, which not only caused many casualties in 1986, but wider medical repercussions years later.
The Ministry of Health is in charge of managing the health sector through health departments belonging to the Regional and Minsk Municipal Executive Committees.
The 1993 healthcare law maintains that public spending on healthcare should not be less than 10 percent of the national income. All citizens in Belarus have the right to free health care in state-funded institutions.
The National Health Service
The health service is funded through general taxation. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance agree the health sector budget and then determine the percentage of tax revenue that will be given to healthcare.
Unlike most other countries in Europe, employees are not required to contribute to the health budget. All citizens and registered residents of Belarus are entitled to a wide-ranging package of free health carebenefits in state-funded institutions.
Medicines prescribed for outpatients, some dental services including false teeth, cosmetic surgery, spectacles, visits to health resorts and some preventive examinations will incur costs. The government decides what each group of society receives in terms of health services.
Citizens who belong to vulnerable groups of society e.g. pregnant women, war veterans, diabetics and tuberculosis patients do not have to pay any charges. Parents must, however pay part of the cost for their childrenís prescription medicines.
Most people accept that cosmetic surgery and visits to health care resorts are non-essential treatments, but the majority of the population disagree with being charged for outpatient prescription drugs. This unfair system encourages people to postpone treatment or seek admission to hospital, because all drugs prescribed in hospital are free.
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