Russia to expand healthcare cooperation with BRICS countries

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Source: Itar-Tass

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Source: Itar-Tass

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says Russia had gone from being a recipient of international assistance in healthcare into one of the largest donors.

Russia plans to expand healthcare cooperation with its fellow members in the BRICS assembly, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

“After interaction in the G8 format was curbed - and for this we are not to blame - the Foreign Ministry has paid considerable attention to wider cooperation in healthcare within the BRICS format (of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa),” Ryabkov said in opening remarks at an international medical media forum in Moscow.

Recalling that Russia would take the chair in BRICS - its summit is scheduled for Bashkortostan’s capital Ufa (about 1,400km west of Moscow) next July - Ryabkov said he wanted “a sizeable chapter” devoted to cooperation in health protection included in the gathering's final document.

The concept of Russia chairing the body already included agreements on partnership in fighting infectious and non-infectious disease, biomedicine, improving quality in medical assistance and ensuring unlimited access, Ryabkov said, noting that Russia had transformed from being a recipient of international assistance in healthcare into one of the largest donors.

“The amount of aid, firstly to countries of Central and East Asia, has climbed to $300 million,” he said, adding that in recent years more than 900 specialists from countries of the regional Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Asia and Latin America had undergone training in sectors of medicine on Russia-sponsored programs.

Russia will chair the BRICS group from January 1, 2015. The BRICS summit is scheduled for July 9-10 and will be held in the Russian city of Ufa together with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Russia is developing a number of major initiatives aimed at expanding investment cooperation. The preparation of the draft strategy for multilateral economic cooperation is underway as well.

The BRICS Health Ministers meet every year for stand-alone sessions. In the past, they have focussed on strengthening health surveillance systems, reducing risk factors for non-communicable diseases through prevention and health promotion, universal health coverage, strategic health and medical technologies and drug discovery and development.   Cooperation in health was one of the key areas highlighted by the Fortaleza declaration sign the heads of government of the BRICS countries after the July 2014 summit in the Brazilian city.

First published by Itar-Tass. Materials from a RIA Novosti report were used in this article.  

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