GREECE TO HOST INT. MEDICAL SEMINAR WITH THE SUPPORT OF CHINA

25 October 2012

Greece is due to host the 18th Seminar of the International Association of Surgeons, Gastroenterologists and Oncologists (IASGO) on Oct. 25 in Athens with China's support, as the two countries commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties this year. The event running from Thursday to Saturday is organized by IASGO in close cooperation with the Chinese Society of Surgeons and the Chinese Society of Minimally Invasive Surgery with the support of the Chinese embassy in Athens, Greek authorities and the Athens Medical Center Group.

Approximately 320 top level experts from 45 countries are expected to attend the seminar entitled "New Developments in the Diagnosis and Management of Abdominal Malignancies -- From Open Surgery to Mini-Invasive Surgical Approaches."

During the event top level experts -- amongst them about 40 Chinese surgeons -- will present technical advances and pioneering developments in the field, will exchange experience and knowledge and explore future collaborations.

"We expect that this seminar will be a significant platform for doctors to exchange experience and to network for future cooperation. We hope that we are making a contribution to medical developments worldwide," Chinese Ambassador to Greece, Du Qiwen, said during a press briefing in Athens on Tuesday.

The medical seminar is part of a long series of events held this year to mark the 40th anniversary of theestablishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and China, aiming to raise public awareness on the progress of bilateral ties, he added.

Organizers hope that the conference could also help "change the international press coverage on Greece to positive and show that Greece and Athens still play a significant role in international arenas," Du stressed.

"In a period when citizens across the world follow news regarding Greece of a negative content, the success of such a seminar could provide Greece with a most needed positive publicity," Athens Medical Centre Group CEO Vassilios Apostolopoulos said.

Speaking to Xinhua, IASGO's Secretary General Professor Nikolaos Lygidakis stressed that Athens was chosen to host the event particularly in this crucial period for Greece to honor its contribution to world civilization and support Greek peoples during these difficult moments of their history, as they struggle to counter a severe debt crisis.

In regards to the scientific purposes of the gathering, Lygidakis said that the target is to promote IASGO's key objective and philosophy -- that medicine beyond frontiers and health for all is an absolute right of every human being on this planet.

Over the past 24 years, IASGO offers services and supports postgraduate training courses to more than 30 countries globally, aiming to close the distance separating citizens in poor countries in Africa and western developed economies, he explained.

Since 1986, Lygidakis visits China regularly and has good contacts with the Chinese medical community. He has seen the "dramatic, very impressive improvement in the quality of medical services provided in China" ever since, he told Xinhua, stressing "I am pretty sure that in a few years Chinese surgery will be frontrunner in the world."

He speaks highly of the scientific expertise of his Chinese colleagues, adding that international cooperation is to the benefit of all.

"Chinese can gain from us, we can gain from them. That's the value of globalization, to diffuse knowledge and experience," he underlined. (source: Xinhua).

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