Planning your elective-Belarus
Mark Wilson gives you some tips for an elective in Belarus
Belarus can hardly be described as a popular elective destination. In the last couple of years, however, a number of medical students have ventured to this relatively undiscovered country.
Situated in eastern Europe, Belarus is a landlocked by Latvia, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine. Agriculture has become the main resource over the last decade, after the split from Moscow in 1991. The climate in the summer has a pleasant Mediterranean feel; in the winter, however, it can get very cold (−20°C is common; −30°C is severe).
The healthcare system used to be relatively good, but the Chernobyl disaster—in neighbouring Ukraine, in 1986—changed this. Cancer and leukaemia rates increased dramatically. Health care is still free at the point of delivery, but resources are severely limited. Alcohol related disease is also a major burden.
Electives can be organised through the medical schools or directly through hospitals, however, by arranging it through a