President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to welcome you all. I’ll begin with just a few remarks.
I feel that this event, taking place here in Moscow, is very important; in fact, it is my understanding that this is the first time this Congress is being held here. For us, this presents an opportunity to talk about what we have been doing in our country and to share our achievements and our problems. To be entirely honest, we currently have more problems than successes, but we have nevertheless been able to accomplish some positive things. Recently, we have made some investments in public health and have made certain organisational decisions.
Still, this is no reason to sit back and relax. The majority of our work in modernising Russian health services is still ahead of us. We will be working on this issue, and we very much count on the help and support of our colleagues, who have their own experience in this field.
Experiences are always unique, but even my limited experience in public health – an area I worked with quite a bit in the Government – showed me that there are usually some common trends. Many times, while travelling abroad, I met with colleagues (I had most detailed discussions on the subject in Italy, for example) and noticed lots of similarities in the public health arrangements in European countries. I didn’t expect this to be the case, but many elements of public health are extremely similar in different places, even with all the diversity of public health financing plans in various countries. Thus, I think it is great that you are meeting and sharing your experiences.
That’s just about all that I wanted to say. If you would like to discuss any particular topics, I would be happy to do so.