The guest gave two lectures in Kazan, one of them at the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology on November 17th.
Dr. Hans Hogerzeil, Professor of Global Health at Groningen University, is currently the head of an inter-institutional group engaged in medicine policy and programs on behalf of the UN and the World Bank. From 2008 to 2011 he was Director for Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies, being responsible for all WHO's global policies, nomenclature, norms and standards on medicines, the prequalification program, as well as all technical country support to Member States in the field of medicines (currently supports program in over 100 countries, covering access to essential medicines, quality, and rational use). His main interests are essential medicines for reproductive health, access to essential medicines as part of the fulfillment of the right to health, the development of a patent pool for combination therapies for the second-line treatment of HIV/AIDS, and regional medicine regulatory harmonization in Africa.
Dr. Hogerzeil travels the world on a regular basis, giving courses and consultations in his field of expertise. This time he presented new statistics on the accessibility of essential medicines in rich and mid-income countries and gave practical recommendations and solutions on the matter.
The main problem, he said, is that new medications for such diseases as hepatitis C, cancer, and tuberculosis, are sold at very high prices, which makes them effectively inaccessible even for countries with high average incomes. Pharmaceutical companies promote the agenda of those prices being indispensable for financing of new research. Especially severe problems can be found in mid-tier countries which usually don’t fall under patent exemptions given to poor countries. The lecturer noted that the solution is government reform and subsidizing.
During his visit, Dr. Hogerzeil also toured the medical facilities, the History Museum and the Zoological Museum. He met with Vice-Rector for Biomedicine Andrey Kiyasov.
The guest's takeaway from his trip was this, “It’s very good that you became a federal university, since that gave you many advantages. I am seeing how much has been made by you in equipment purchases or building renovations. I am also impressed by how the University combines technology and teaching methods – and by your Medical Simulation Center. I know that students come here with pleasure, and this is very good for the city.”
“I would advise you to develop the University in such a way that students would have an opportunity to learn something else while studying their major, to develop interdisciplinarily – in medicine, natural sciences, history, literature, and other fields.”
“Students are young and capable; they can absorb much information about technical specifics, but I would pay attention to something else – to encouraging their autonomous thinking, the ability to formulate own opinions on different issues; and you have all the opportunities to do so. It’s also important to self-improve in your interaction with students, to listen to them more, not just give lectures but build a dialog. I am a professor, and I always tell my students that I am not smarter than they are. That’s the truth.”