Kazakhstan celebrated June 21 Medical Workers Day, the third Sunday of June. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev congratulated Kazakh medical workers with their professional holiday and decreed to award the most distinguished medical workers with medals and orders.
“Congratulations to the doctors of Kazakhstan on their professional holiday! Your calling is to restore health to people, and save their lives,” Tokayev said in a twitter post. “Many of you are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic today. Thank you for your hard work. Stay safe! The state will provide you with comprehensive assistance.”
Tokayev also decreed to award a group of medical workers with state orders and medals, Berik Uali said in a facebook post.
The Kazakh medical workers share the same holiday with their colleagues in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. The countries retained the holiday established during the Soviet times in 1980.
The celebrations used to start on the eve of the holiday with ceremonies and seminars, where the medical workers sum up their annual achievements. The Kazakh government awards the most distinguished medical workers with certificates and prizes. Each year, the medical workers compete in nominations as Best Doctor, Best Public Health Specialist, Best Rural Doctor among others.
Over the past three months, the medical workers have faced an unprecedented amount of work under a quarantine in their hospitals away from their families to fight the pandemic. The Kazakh medical personnel cured 10,671 people, which is more than half of all the infected. The hard work of the medical workers and lockdown have been keeping the mortality rate from COVID-19 very low in Kazakhstan.
As of June 18, 1,904 medical workers tested positive for COVID-19, including Kazakh Minister of Healthcare Yelzhan Birtanov. Birtanov congratulated the medical workers and emphasized the healthcare achievements of recent years in a facebook post.
“In recent years, much has changed dramatically in Kazakh medicine: medical science and information technologies in the healthcare sector are being developed, new high-tech centers have been built. Only recently, in the shortest possible time, in just 2 weeks, we have built infectious hospitals in large cities of our country,” he said.
The Kazakh government, on its part, has been ensuring the safety of the medical workers purchasing hundreds of thousands of personal protective equipment, such as antiseptics, medical masks and special anti-epidemic suits. The government allocated hazard compensation for frontline workers, and medical personnel working in high risk conditions.
Many citizens volunteered to support the medical workers, as well as to help the vulnerable population segment. Almaty resident Aisulu Tustykbayeva, for instance, raised money and organised free food delivery for medical workers trapped in hospitals. Artists dedicated murals on the streets. Many others expressed their gratitude on their social media pages.
The representatives of the United Nations (the UN), the United Nations Children’s Fund (the UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (the WHO) also congratulated the Kazakh medical workers with the holiday.
“…The UN system fully supports Kazakhstan’s efforts to combat the pandemic. Our dear heroes of the healthcare sector and everyone who supports them, remember that we are in solidarity with you and count on you. We thank you for your courage, dedication and professionalism,” said Norimasa Shimomura, the UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan.
WHO country office head in Kazakhstan Caroline Clarinval, urged healthcare providers to take care of themselves.
“The past months have required incredible efforts from all of you, and we are here to support you. Please take care of yourself, protect yourself and take care of your families to the best of your ability,” said Clarinval.
A video by UN in Kazakhstan.