We need to put the healthcare system to rights to prevent corruption, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing local authorities on 11 June, BelTA has learned.
“It's a shame when healthcare officials are corrupt top to bottom! they are good managers, they have proved their worth as specialists (I will not give the names). People still approach me vouching for someone: they would say he is a unique specialist, he would spend day and night at work when out of prison. He returned twice the amount he took as bribes. I do not know whether this offence merits leniency? Everybody was warned that corruption is not about Belarus, that there would be no mercy. What I see is that some have gotten pretty brazen and need to be brought to their senses,” the president said.
The president recalled that he once made a decision to vest the Healthcare Ministry with the functions to acquire medical equipment and medicines on a centralized basis. “You buy equipment to heal people. We must look into this system again,” he said addressing the new minister.
The head of state outlined import substitution as one of the most important tasks. “We spend $500 million on medicines alone. That's a lot for the country. We need to keep this money, and develop our own manufactures. If we can't produce some high-quality drugs we may earmark $100 million for these purposes. We will buy what our people need in Switzerland, the United States, Germany. Foreign medicines should be available. Yes, they will be expensive. Those who want to buy expensive medicines should have an opportunity to do it. We also need our domestic medicines as an alternative. They are of good quality. I know this. I have looked into the matter,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president is convinced that as former chief physician Vladimir Karanik sees all the shortcomings in the procurement system and the healthcare system in general. “You are aware of all these shortcomings very well. You need to bring this matter on the agenda of the ministry, the government. Feel free to address me. I am ready to support and help. We need to solve these matters. We can do it,” the head of state said.
“You are a person of strong will, resolute and well-qualified. We are currently coming through a period of so-called stagnation (despite the fact that our healthcare is well-developed and recognized worldwide). I see that there is no dynamics. We need to move forward,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing the new minister.
The president criticized the performance of former Healthcare Minister Valery Malashko. “It seems to me that the minister has failed to run the ministry efficiently. He is a very good specialist, a talented doctor. He worked as deputy chairman of the oblast executive committee. He has a wealth of experience. It just happens that it is not one's job. We will find where to use his experience the best,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Once you are introduced to the [Healthcare Ministry] personnel you need to decide on the people you are going to work with. Outline a plan of action and go ahead,” the president said.