Healthcare system and personnel: regional overview

Category status:
April 22, 2016 18:09

Each year, up to two thousand medical specialists leave Belarusian public healthcare system. About 10% of them go abroad. Despite the steady increase in students at medical educational institutions, the staffing rate has been decreasing. For instance, Brest oblast employs only 76% of the needed physicians, Mogilev - 67%. In some regions staff shortage exceeds 50%.

In 2012 healthcare institutions’ demand for specialists with secondary medical education is about 5 thousand. However, in 2012 there will be slightly more than three thousand graduates with medical diplomas. More than 3.8 thousand students will be admitted to the secondary medical schools.

There are a total of 16 medical colleges in Belarus providing training in medicine and pharmaceutics. During 2011/2012 academic year, they trained more than 11 thousand specialists of future nursing care.

Paradoxically, along with a chronic shortage in doctors and nurses, Belarus holds a record in the number of doctors - 53.6 per 1,000 inhabitants - the fifth highest rate in the world. The number of doctors in the neighbouring countries is much smaller: in Lithuania, for example, 40 per 1000 inhabitants; in Latvia - 30, and 20 in Poland.

Country’s abundance of professionals is distributed unevenly: the WHO experts say there is a significant imbalance in favour of hospital personnel, with a significant staffing shortage in the primary care. This disproportion is aggravated by a significant staff outflow (including abroad) because of low wages (wages in the public healthcare are 30% less than in the industry), “wage leveling” and hazy prospects for self-development.

Belarus ranks the first among the Central and Eastern European countries in terms of the number of hospital beds per capita, which accounts for about 60% of the health budget expenditures. The majority of the population, as elsewhere, is treated in medical clinics and even misuses their availability: the country leads in the number of visits to clinic per year per one inhabitant. Thus, in 2011 the average Belarusian visited a clinic 13.2 times, while an EU resident 2.2 times, and a CIS resident 1.6 times less. It would be easy to explain this state of affairs by consumer attitude towards free medicine, but the underlying reasons are both, of systemic nature (such as the need to obtain a prescription with a discount) and relate to the quality of the medical services.

Public healthcare is funded from the state budget. Over the last five years healthcare budget was about 5% of GDP, or no more than USD 320 per capita (USD 225 in 2011), which is 3 times lower than in the neighbouring Poland, or 14 times less than in Germany.

Public healthcare standards



1 physician per 1 300 inhabitants

1 per 1 174 inhabitants

9 hospital beds per 1 thousand inhabitants

10.3 per 1 thousand inhabitants

1 aptheka per 8 thousand inhabitants

1 per 3.1 thousand inhabitants

1 ER team per 12 thousand жителей

1 per 11,362 inhabitants

Budgetary expences per 1 inhabitant — Br 591,884

Br 905,862 руб

Recent trends