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U.S. and Russian Maternal and Child Health Experts Discuss Expanded Collaboration and Use of New Technology
A delegation of Russian maternal and child health experts has just met with their USAID counterparts to discuss bilateral collaboration on key MCH issues.
Led by Dr. Gennadiy Sukhikh, Director of the Kulakov Federal Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, the delegation met with Scott Radloff, Director of USAID's Office of Population and Reproductive Health, and other experts from U.S. Government. Dr. Radloff has been named the American co-chair of the MCH sub-group under the Health Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission established by President Obama and President Medvedev in July 2009. This visit will be reported as a key achievement for the Presidential Commission.
The meeting is part of an expert exchange that also included the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They dicussed best practices on preventing and treating complications, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension - a leading cause of maternal mortality in both Russia and the U.S. Earlier in the week, the Russian delegation met with several offices at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.
Russian colleagues spoke about the innovative uses of technology that USAID partners, in collaboration with the Kulakov Center, are introducing in Russia to improve MCH, such as videoconferencing to review cases of maternal and infant mortality and "near miss" mortality cases. USAID-supported organizations in Russia are also exploring the use of mobile text messaging and other applications of technology to reach pregnant women and new mothers with information about prenatal and neonatal care.
Dr. Sukhikh and his delegation also met with Jonathan Hale, Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID's Bureau for Europe and Eurasia. And to close out the week Dr. Sukhikh and Dr. Radloff jointly met with senior representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USAID, and the private sector to learn about text4baby, a text messaging initiative that began operating in the U.S. in February 2010. During a February visit of the Innovation Delegation to Russia, private sector leaders announced that an analogous program is being considered in Russia that could be managed by the Healthy Russia Foundation, a Russian non-governmental organization that is also a key implementing partner of USAID projects such as the "Healthy Russia 2020."