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XI World Congress of Perinatal Medicine

June 22, 2013, Moscow

Vladimir Putin spoke at the XI World Congress of Perinatal Medicine being held in Moscow.

The congress is taking place in Russia for the first time. Around 2,500 delegates are attending the event, including around 1,000 specialists from 59 different countries.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It is very pleasant and a great honour for me and my Russian colleagues to host such a representative forum of leading scientists, researchers, practitioners and healthcare policy-makers from 59 different countries in Moscow.

The World Association of Perinatal Medicine (WAPM) is more than 50 years old. Dear friends, the enthusiasm and selfless devotion of your predecessors and you yourselves – especially those at the origins of this movement – have drawn significant attention to this important branch of medicine. Today it is not simply in demand; it has been widely developed and has significant public resonance.

Improving maternal and child health, reducing maternal and child mortality rates were two of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000. This initiative was supported by UN member states, and naturally Russia too.

We can now witness the results of these joint efforts. Globally, maternal mortality has nearly halved, and child mortality has been reduced by more than a third. Undoubtedly, this is to your and your colleagues’ credit. We take our hats off to your achievement, thank you very much.

Your congress is taking place in Moscow, and we understand your choice as high-level international recognition of Russia’s contribution to the development of perinatal medicine.

I would emphasise that Russia’s demographic policy places special emphasis on encouraging families trying to have children, and on improving maternal and child health and well-being.

In the 1990s, our country faced a profound demographic crisis. We have not yet felt its consequences, but they will some day impact on the economy, the social sphere, and our industrial development.

”Russia’s demographic policy places special emphasis on encouraging families trying to have children, and on improving maternal and child health and well-being.“

Unfortunately, we will be confronted with this in the coming years. Currently, almost two million children are born every year in Russia. Last year, the birth rate reached the average European one. For Russia, this is the best figure in the past 19 years.

Infant mortality has decreased by 50 percent over the past 10 years. Perinatal medicine plays a huge role in these achievements. For Russian healthcare it has been a crucially important branch, at any rate, one of the crucial ones. It is our duty to fight for every child’s life.

Last year, Russia adopted new criteria for registering births in line with World Health Organisation recommendations. I can say at once that even a few years ago, we could not have saved extremely weak and premature babies. This requires special resources, and the necessary measures have been taken to create them over the course of five years.

We have invested significant public funds into this crucially important branch of healthcare, and we will continue to do so. Let me repeat that maternal and child health and well-being are a key priority of our state and social policy.

Currently, 58 perinatal centres actively operate in Russia’s regions. Perhaps this is still not enough; probably not, but it still is a weighty, significant step forward.

In recent years, we implemented a broad programme aimed at establishing such centres. They are equipped with the most up-to-date diagnostic and medical equipment.

I can say frankly that when I visit such centres, especially when I came the first time, I was really surprised. I had never seen anything like this in my life. It is truly impressive and looks like space-exploration systems. Of course all this is being carried out with direct input from specialists who work in this field, that is with you.

Reanimation units, intensive care departments and those treating neonatal pathologies employ highly dedicated, skilled professionals. For our part, we will continue to build perinatal centres so that specialised medical care can become more close to moms and kids living in remote regions of our vast country.

In addition, next year in Moscow a major federal perinatal centre will open within the leading research centre Kulakov Centre of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Perinatology.

Of course all this great work did not start from scratch. It was in the USSR that a system of medical institutions containing the basics of perinatal medicine was established, and during that period the most advanced technology was not only used in Moscow’s hospitals. Healthcare centres in other cities – Ivanovo, Sverdlovsk, Rostov-on-Don, Leningrad, and several others – were real leaders in this field. They continue to actively develop this branch of healthcare.

”We consider the development and implementation of perinatal technologies one of the key healthcare priorities, and your congress will undoubtedly be useful to specialists working in this critical sector.“

We are proud of the fact that national experts have achieved outstanding results in this field, especially in caring for low-birth-weight newborns.“

Much attention is being paid to diagnosis, including prenatal diagnosis, in the first three months of pregnancy. In addition, all newborns are screened for five hereditary diseases. If any of these are detected, children will receive the necessary treatment.

Dear friends, I do not need to explain to this professional audience how important it is to provide a child with timely medical assistance. It is imperative, and not only during a baby’s first days, but especially in their first few hours of life, and sometimes even before they are born.

Our talented doctors and specialists successfully perform complex operations and save up to 80 percent of children. For this reason we fully support the development of neonatal surgery.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me emphasise once again: we consider the development and implementation of perinatal technologies one of the key healthcare priorities, and your congress will undoubtedly be useful to specialists working in this critical sector.

Professional exchanges will enrich knowledge, allow experiences to be shared and, ultimately, result in the realisation of the most advanced ideas and technologies. I have no doubt that the conclusions and recommendations elaborated during your congress will be critical not only for Russian healthcare, but also for global medical science and practice.

Let me wish you success and of course health. Doctors need their health as much as anyone else.hank you.

June 22, 2013, Moscow