Ukrainian dentist proves popular in Priekule, Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year ago

A Ukrainian dentist and nurse began working in Priekule at the end of last year. There has been no dentist in the town for over five years, and now a line is already forming at the doctor's office, Latvian Radio reported on January 22.

For doctor Oleksii Buriak, this is an opportunity to escape from the horrors of war, while for the locals there is finally a dentist. The doctor is currently lacking equipment, while the local municipality is hoping to provide financing for more modern equipment.

“I'm from Donetsk County, the town of Toreck, maybe you've heard of it, near Bakhmut. We have an apartment in a five-story house, it's still there. Of course, it's being bombed and people are dying,” Oleksii said.

His work in Priekule allows him to forget for a moment what is happening in Ukraine.

"Of course, if you do your beloved job, it allows you to deflect your thoughts and forget. I've been waiting for a long time to be able to work in my profession. While I waited for the documents [to come through], I worked in woodworking at first, thank you to the management of the company who helped me. I was stacking boards and doing other jobs."

Another Ukrainian helps him in the doctor's practice. She used to work in an emergency room. 

"In Ukraine, I worked as a nurse anesthesiologist. Now I was hired as a receptionist. I already submitted the documents in October, but there is some confusion in Ukraine in connection with electricity interruptions. I also did not know whether I could stay here. Honestly, we didn't think it would happen. It was worse when we left, so we have to stay here, we have nowhere to go."

Attracting a doctor to outlying rural areas is a major challenge in Latvia, so Priekule is happy to have additional working hands.

Now the most important thing is newer equipment for a dentist, the hospital manager says. The existing dental equipment was purchased in 1996 and does not meet the requirements. There is also no dental X-ray equipment required for the dentist's work.

The preliminary price of the X-ray dental equipment could be EUR 58,500 with VAT. Aivars Priedols, chairman of the municipality council of Dienvidkurzeme (Southern Kurzeme), said the amount could be allocated during budget planning.

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