Today, I spoke on the telephone to my friend, Dr. Arkadi Stolpner in Russia. Arkadi told me that he participated in a two-hour meeting where health leaders from across the country shared their thoughts on Russian health care with President Vladimir Putin and Georgiy Poltavchenko, governor of St. Petersburg.
With 25 executives in attendance, President Putin stated his goal was to spend 5 percent of Russia's GNP on health care, with the hope of raising the average lifespan in Russia to 80 years.
Dr. Stolpner, who recently opened the first and only proton center in Russia, shared the benefits of proton therapy with the president. His facility is located in the city of St. Petersburg and uses technology supplied by Varian Medical Systems.
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Dr. Stolpner highlighted the important role that protons can play in pediatric oncology and oncology in general.
President Putin welcomed Dr. Stolpner's recommendation that the state focus more on pediatric oncology and allocate funds to supporting this effort.
In this meeting, and in other meetings, Mr. Putin has reaffirmed his interest in health care and its importance in Russia.
On Sunday, Russia will hold its presidential election. There is little doubt that Vladimir Putin will be re-elected.