Evaluated by the criteria “availability of medical help”, the World Health Organization has ranked Belarus on the same level as Canada and Brunei. The Ministry of Health is raising the quality of healthcare in the country and planning for the future ahead. Pointing out that “modernisation, innovation, optimisation and transfer to full digitalisation by 2020 are national priorities”, Dmitry Pinevich, First Deputy Minister of Health, discusses policies and developments in the sector.
European Times: What is the level of development of the healthcare sector in Belarus?
Dmitry Pinevich: Various evaluation agencies’ ratings are positioning us in the higher-medium ranking in the availability of healthcare. Bloomberg’s analysis ranked us in the 47th place worldwide. The fact that annually we have over 160.000 foreign citizens coming to receive health treatment shows our standards and capabilities. Thanks to our program of pharmaceutical industry development, regarding medicine accessibility within households we are on the level of Germany, France, Italy and the UK. In our country with less than 10 million people, we already have 35 pharmaceutical factories, more than half of which are local ones. We have world-leading expertise in transplantation of organs and tissues, and our system is providing free subsequent suppressive immunotherapy to all our patients.
European Times: Which are the major policies intended to upgrade your sector further?
Dmitry Pinevich: The program of healthcare and demographic security is the principal policy driver, integrating all relevant state institutions, civil society organisations, including patient associations and international organisations. Our systems benefit from using best practices of various other experiences. Currently, we are intensively preparing for the digitalisation of healthcare.
Furthermore, we have developed a system of educating our personnel abroad, sending specialists to acquire new knowledge and implement it in our homeland. A special program for sending patients for treatment abroad is in place if we lack the necessary experience in a particular area.
Our model concentrates on real results and minimises the related indirect costs. We have learnt how to separate our system on levels: if in operation rooms super high-tech equipment is needed, we purchase it from abroad and for everything else we have a high-quality locally produced equipment.
European Times: Why should foreign investors target Belarusian healthcare?
Dmitry Pinevich: Investors find our market attractive because of our membership in the EAEU with over 200 million people. The purchasing capability of our population is growing, as well as the healthcare service market.
We are attractive for medical tourism with our network of sanatoriums, spa centres and other medical complexes.
Belarus has an excellent technical-material base for development of any investment project, in the frames of previous experience and specialists that we are training. There are four medical institutes with 16.000 students including many foreign scholars and superb post-diploma internships. Our system features non-stop professional education and a reliable pharmaceutical supply. The investment recovery is fast, and the overhead costs are low. We have built all the logical chains, from training specialists to infrastructure, so when investors arrive, they come on a “flourishing soil”.