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NP Equal Right to Life and Harvard University signed a Letter-declaration of intent for strategic cooperation. For the first time ever Russian public organization operating in the sphere of health care became a partner of Harvard University. On December 10, within the framework of the 67th United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York, Non-profit Partnership “Equal Right to Life” (Russia) with the assistance of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund (Russia) and Harvard University expert group (USA) have signed a Letter – declaration of intent for strategic cooperation. This partnership is intended to increase the availability of innovative treatments of socially significant diseases in Russia and contribute to the improvement of health management practices.

The problem of effective control of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is determined by the fact that NCDs are responsible for 70% of all deaths in the world today. This makes combating these diseases a high priority task for the mankind in this millennium.

The attention of international community to the problem of NCD was drawn at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Diseases, which was held in Moscow in April 2011. Results of work of the conference formed a platform for a high-level meeting at the UN General Assembly special session on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in New York in September 2011, resulting in signing of relevant Political Declaration. NP Equal Right to Life then became the only Russian non-profit organization included in the Russian delegation. In order to implement the Political Declaration, NP Equal Right to Life and Harvard University began negotiations on possible cooperation, and now, at the end of 2012, the parties approached the beginning of its implementation. This cooperation will also emphasize the increasing role of Russia in the international scientific and legal cooperation directed to the assurance of effectiveness of measures to prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, which also reflects the essence of Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, held during the 66th session of the UN General Assembly.
A ceremonial signing of the Letter-declaration was held at the Russian Federation Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. On the Russian side the document was signed by the Executive Director of NP Equal Right to Life, Chairman of the Public Council for the Protection of Patients' Rights at Roszdravnadzor Administration in Moscow and Moscow Region Dmitry Borisov. On the American side the document was countersigned by Felicia Knaul, representative of the Harvard University expert group, director of the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries.

An important aspect of future cooperation is the integration of Russian experts’ experience in international cooperation projects in the framework of implementation of recommendations identified in the report “Closing the cancer divide. A blueprint to expand access in low and middle income countries” of the Harvard Global Task Force. The cooperation will include organization of professional experience exchange programs for physicians, health care experts, representatives of public anti-cancer organizations and patient organizations.
“At present, barriers that limit access of people to up-to-date treatment, remain high all over the world. These barriers are of different kind: political, economic, administrative.” said Felicia Knaul, expert of Harvard University. “Removal of these barriers is a common task for stake-holders in public health sphere around the world. For us, it is important that the experience of Russian colleagues can make significant contribution to the planned projects of scientific and humanitarian cooperation in the CIS countries, increasing the efficiency of their practical implementation. The cooperation of our university with a reputable Russian public organization “Equal Right to Life”, which has already done a lot to improve the situation with cancer in its own country, is one of the steps to overcome these barriers at the international level”.

“For us, the beginning of cooperation with an expert group of the world's leading research and education center is a landmark event. It provides access to the latest information and expertise of leading scientists of the world.” said Dmitry Borisov. “It is important that our cooperation will be fully bilateral strategic partnership and the experience of the Russian party will be used to improve the practical efficiency of the projects in countries with low and middle economic development. Furthermore, interest in our activities from one of the most prestigious universities in the world symbolizes the recognition of all the effort that we make day by day for already six years in order to improve the situation with cancer in Russia and confirms that we are heading in the right direction. Moreover, this cooperation will increase the role of the Russian Federation in the international scientific and legal cooperation directed in the effective control of NCD. It is very important for us that our activities found support of Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, because addressing the problem of increasing the availability of cancer treatment has long ago gone beyond purely medical agenda and became an important aspect of international social and economic activities realized in the sphere of quality of life and strengthening social protection of population”.

The Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund actively promotes the integration of Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the international sphere, supporting NGOs, which together with government show their foreign policy activity for the successful formation of decent social, political and business image of Russia in the world.
“In international life the “soft power” policy becomes more and more important, where the priority is not military and economic power of the country, but the ability of the state and society to influence the international sphere by means of cultural, historical and political values. Russian NGOs begin to play an increasingly prominent role in the country's foreign policy.” said Deputy Executive Director of the Fun Roman Grishenin. “Equal Right to Life is one of the most active Russian NGOs in health care sphere. Its initiatives are balanced and productive”.

In the nearest time, in the context of Declaration of Intent implementation, the parties will agree on a joint action plan; it is anticipated that as soon as in February Harvard University experts will take part in the annual forum of “Movement Against Cancer”, which is held in Russia with the support of NP Equal Right to Life and gathers the most prominent Russian specialists in cancer.
For more information, please contact Press Center of NP Equal Right to Life, Maria Burgutina, e-mail: bmar@ag-loyalty.com, phone +7 (499) 788 92 12