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New Opportunities for Cooperation between Bulgaria and Israel in the Field of Medicine

Exchange programmes for students, lecturers and postgraduates, cooperation in the research field, clinical practice and anti-terrorist activities - this was the focus of the meetings between the representatives of MU-Varna and their colleagues from Israel. During the visit, which took place from 27 February to 4 March, a delegation of MU-Varna, including Prof. Dr. Krasimir Metodiev (head of the delegation), the Vice-Rectors Prof. T. Kostadinova and Prof. Dr. Hristina Grupcheva, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Prof. Dr. R. Radev and the Assistant Rector Deyan Grancharov visited the University and the University Hospital "Rambam" in Haifa and the two University Hospitals "Hadassah" in Jerusalem.
The issues on the implementation of the joint projects of MU-Varna and the University in Haifa were discussed, as well as the exchange programmes for students from Haifa to Varna and the opportunities for exchange of guest professors and lecturers on certain topics of the curriculum of the medical faculties of both universities. A programme for cooperation on joint research projects between the two academic institutions was discussed as well.

The forthcoming organizational steps for the 2nd International Workshop on Anti-terrorism in Varna (9 - 12 June 2015) with the participation of Israeli experts were discussed with the University Hospital "Rambam" in Haifa. Here the delegation of MU-Varna visited the largest in the world underground hospital with more than 2 000 beds, ready for full action under war and crisis situations, as well as the Centre for Cell Therapy and Cell Innovations, where the latest methods for proliferation and differentiation of stem cells are being developed. An agreement was reached to send personnel from MU-Varna to "Rambam" for training and coordination of actions during terrorist acts, as well as sending postgraduates to various clinical- laboratory, practical and scientific projects. Furthermore, the opportunities for including personnel from "Rambam" in the first clinical-laboratory procedures in the new Centre for Translational Medicine and Cell Therapy at University Hospital "St. Marina" were discussed, as well as the bilateral exchange of specialists.

Discussions and working groups were established during the visit of our delegation to the University Hospitals "Hadassah", Ein Kerem and Mount Scopos in Jerusalem. The next steps in the implementation of the already established joint project between the University Hospital in Varna and those in Jerusalem in relation to joint programmes for exchange of guest lecturers, as well as clinical procedures with stem cells, radiotherapy, long-term qualification of young Bulgarian medical practitioners in "Hadassah" in the field of Dermatology, Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology were discussed and outlined.

 During the visit to the second hospital "Hadassah", the focus of the visit was the rehabilitation clinics (with unique equipment and recovery programmes for patients with different pathology), as well as the Clinic of Neonatology (with revolutionary achievements in ensuring the development and normal life of 500-gram newborn premature babies). The opportunities for sending new graduate students from MU-Varna to the clinics of this hospital were discussed as well.

During the visit the International Medical Association Bulgaria awarded the General Director of "Hadassah" with the Honorary Medal, and in turn "Hadassah" awarded the President of IMAB Prof. Krasimir Metodiev with a special honorary plaque to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the cooperation between IMAB and "Hadassah". On the eve of the 3rd March – the National Holiday of Bulgaria the delegation from MU-Varna was invited to a formal reception, given by H.Е. Ambassador of Bulgaria in Israel.