Children and young people have been found on the brink of starvation in orphanages in Belarus, prompting widespread public revulsion and a criminal investigation.
Prosecutors, doctors and officials from children’s homes have revealed that clusters of severely malnourished youngsters have languished in the homes for years. Some teenagers weighed as little as 15kg (2st 5lb) and one 20-year-old was just 11.5kg, the normal weight of a two or three-year-old child.
Local doctors failed to attract the attention of authorities and government officials. “If regular medical checks involving dedicated experts had taken place, the abnormal condition of the children would have been obvious,” the prosecutor’s office told local media.
Anna Gorchakova, director of a children’s hospice, believes the scandal arose not only because of poor institutional management but also because of the common attitude to severely ill children. “They are fed, looked after, but they are treated as plants,”