Monday, October 19, 2009

Russian Health Care Delegation Hosted by Emory

A delegation of Russian healthcare workers are in Atlanta to learn about improving the outcomes of pregnancy through the Perinatal Health Care Delivery System, initiated in the State of Georgia by former President Jimmy Carter when he was Governor.

The arrival of the delegation to Emory University comes at a critical time as strategies for bilateral cooperation between the United States and Russia make headlines.

Recently, Emory Professor of Pediatrics Alfred W. Brann Jr. attended the Civil Society Summit in Moscow as a representative of the public health working group and helped draft the recommended areas for joint United States and Russian cooperation in the field of public health and medical science in the broad area of maternal and child health.

As director of the Atlanta-based World Health Organization/Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health (WHO/CC/RH), Brann has worked tirelessly to reduce infant and maternal mortality and improve perinatal care in some 30 countries over the last 25 years.

The visit of Russian healthcare delegation to Emory is co-sponsored by The Future of Russia Foundation, Emory University (Claus Halle Institute of Global Learning, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, Emory’s Center for Ethics and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reproductive Health) and the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

The collaborative educational program between Russian and American perinatal health care professionals will review previous mutual concerns in reproductive health; discuss the present status of these concerns; and determine the next steps in putting into action the Obama/Medvedev memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the field of maternal and infant healthcare.

Brann serves as medical director of the Future of Russia Foundation (FOR) - the only U.S. charitable foundation created for and solely committed to the mission of modernizing the Russian system for delivery of health care to women of reproductive age and infants, addressing Russia’s declining population, identified in then-President Putin’s inaugural address as Russia’s “greatest crisis.” Brann served in both capacities to lead the development of The Balashikha Project - a comprehensive model for modernizing perinatal care throughout Russia.

“The Russian population is declining some 700 000 people per year. We feel that the Balashikha Project and its potential for improving the outcomes of pregnancy will significantly improve the Russian population by creating new healthy births,” says Brann.

Over the past nine years through the Balashikha project, Russian health care providers have participated in four bi-lateral exchanges with Brann and his Atlanta based colleagues to share ideas and experiences with neonatalogists, pediatricians, obstetricians, nurses, midwives and public health professionals.

This collaborative effort enabled health experts to create a successful perinatal center within a hospital in Balashikha, made it a referral center for high-risk mothers and babies in the Moscow Oblast, and created a postgraduate education for perinatal health professions in that region. A perinatal surveillance system is currently being developed.

“We are trying to create a system of compassionate and evidenced care practices to improve every family’s chances for a healthy pregnancy outcome where the mother and infant are alive and normal following childbirth,” says Brann.
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