The Belarusian Constitution guarantees the right for all citizens “to healthcare, including free treatment at state health-care establishments”.
Healthcare in Belarus is supervised by the Ministry of Health and funded by general taxation through the National Health Service. Belarusian healthcare is cheap and easily available, although specialized care is rare.
The country has maintained the system of privileged medical service for senior government officials who are entitled to use the hospital of the Department of Presidential Affairs. It is also available to other patients, but they have to pay.
There is a network of day care clinics in the cities and mobile clinics in rural areas. There is a small private medicine sector, mostly dentistry. Some of the services provided by the state attract a charge. In addition, there are also departmental clinics (of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, KGB, etc.).
A remnant from the Soviet times, Belarus has retained, and even developed, the system of privileged medical service for state officials. They are granted access to a special clinic and hospital of the Department of Presidential Affairs in Belarus. Ordinary citizens can also receive treatment in this VIP-level clinic, but at full cost.
Primary medical treatment
Primary medical treatment is provided by a large number of day care clinics (separate for children and adults) in cities and ‘Clinics on the wheel (for both children and adults) in the countryside, as well as first aid offices that employ only middle-level medical staff. Treatment is provided strictly in accordance to a person’s place of residence or location. So if you reside in Mogilev you can’t get regular treatment in Minsk until you register. Primary emergency aid is provided by the emergency medical services which employ both middle-level staff and doctors.
High-tech medical care
Belarusian Ministry of Health has developed high-tech medical care, organization of 16 Republican scientific-practical centers, introduces the newest methods of treatment to the regional health organizations, and promoted medical sciences to make out health care system competitive and attractive to foreign citizens. Inpatient treatment (including hi-tech) is an absolute priority, receiving about 60% of the funds. Belarus is No. 1 among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the number of inpatient treatment clinics per capita.
The private medical sector
The private medical sector in Belarus takes up about 5% of the total amount of medical services and is represented mainly by dentistry. This sector is not developing because of the high standards set by the government for such businesses, as well as regulatory constraints on their income. Meanwhile, the state medicine sector is promoting services which need to be paid for privately (a goal has been set to increase the volume of provided chargeable services 3.5 times by 2015), meaning that medical treatment may become less affordable to Belarusian citizens, especially regarding complex, lifesaving hi-tech operations.
Belarus is No. 5 in the world in the number of doctors per 1,000 people, but WHO experts note a significant misbalance in the human resource distribution in favour of hospital services with a substantial deficit in the primary treatment system. This deficit is worsened by lots of professionals leaving the country to work abroad due to low income (salaries in healthcare are 30% lower than in the production sector).
Medical tourism in Belarus is a growing sphere, our country welcomes and treats foreign citizens for years. Belarus is gaining more popularity among those who value the high quality of medical services and quite moderate prices for it.
Main attractions for medical tourists are the following:
- Convenient location in the heart of Europe;
- Good transport links;
- Small distance from any European country to Minsk;
- Minsk is one of the most welcoming, clean and safest European capitals;
- Moderate climate without acclimatization period;
- Absence of natural and social disasters;
- The hospitality of Belarusian people.
Foreign citizens noted high qualification of our specialists, modern medical equipment in health care organizations, effective methods of treatment, and, of course, good results of it.