Firstov Stepan



Physician, Politician, Social Activist, Associate Member of the World Medical Association

«The most important condition to implement the human right to health is professionally skilled and responsible for their work physicians. To protect a physician means to protect a patient.»

Stepan Firstov

Home News Stepan Firstov: "It is good when a physician is open for new knowledge and has opportunities for professional communication."

Stepan Firstov: "It is good when a physician is open for new knowledge and has opportunities for professional communication."

Stepan Firstov: «It is good when a physician is open for new knowledge and has opportunities for professional communication.»

September 2018 a physician from Chelyabinsk, a founder of Noncommercial Partnership Self-Regulated Organisation Traumatologists and Orthopedists Association of Chelyabinsk Region, Stepan Firstov entered the International Organisation Council which unites leaders of Professional Medical Associations from Eastern Europeean countries — Southeast European Medical Forum (SEEMF). And told about it coming back from his business-trip to Balkans.

— Stepan Vladimirovich, was it an unexpected offer for you to become a member of the SEEMF Council?

— I should start our conversation with me telling you that I visit events that are organised directly by or in participation of the World Medical Association. And since 2016 I entered the Organisation as an individual, as a physician. And I have already visited General Assembly of the World Medical Association in Chicago for the first time as an Associate Member of this international organisation. Here I became acquainted with interesting people, met old friends (as a guest I visited GAs WMA earlier four times), developed personal contacts with leaders of National Medical Associations from different countries including European countries. For many reasons, Slavs were easier to talk to. First and foremost, there was almost no language barrier. And, certainly, similarity of mentalities made itself known.

The President of Bulgarian Medical Association, Andrey Kehayov, asked me to take part in a large-scale event for Eastern European doctors known as the Ninth International Medical Congress of SEEMF. This person is a President of SEEMF that exists since 2005.

— What was the Congress SEEMF like?

— It was an educational event for physicians, whereat they, following their individual educational trajectory, gained new knowledge and got, as a result, 16 credits (the event was accredited by EACCME). There were 350 physicians of different specialisations from 21 European countries including organizers of healthcare at the Ninth International Medical Congress of SEEMF. All participants met at the place of Banja Vručica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) at their own expanse and they paid participation fee themselves. Many physicians were from Eastern European countries and drove to the Congress. It was a real «eye-opener» for me that physicians from rather poor countries took part so enthusiastically. For example, I talked to physicians from Belarus and they, of course, complained there were many spendings. Nevertheless, they have found resources and visited the event.

Those who wished, after finishing preliminary qualifying stage, could give a speech. There were famous physicians of Europe at the Congress Organizing Committee. Mutual physicians cooperation of different specialisations cooperation is the right way, in my opinion. This is how a doctor can improve his/her adjacent practice level and can establish interdisciplinary communication. It is good when a physician is open for new and has ability to communicate to members of professional organisation. Based on my observations, the Southeast European Medical Forum has become a place to meet friends.


— Many Medical Conferences and Congresses are held in Russia. What are the differences between SEEMF Congress and those Congresses are held in Russia?

— There are not many representatives of pharmaceutical companies at the European Conferences and their influence is minimised! It is not a secret, that here in Russia pharmaceutical companies sometimes play a leading role and they, as sponsors, decide weather the event is held or not. I think, it is wrong. Any actions of physicians should not be guided by pharmaceutical companies’ dictatorship.

I must specify, that the right for physicians to practice abroad within their speciality, as a rule, is given by the relevant professional association. This law applies everywhere except Russia. In Russia a hospital receives license as if driver's license is received by a car instead of a driver. Obviously, every country has its own particularities, but more often, associations of physicians have real impact on healthcare policy and, in general, on the fact, would the physician using his/her knowledge and skills work with patients. It is associations that keeps an eye on professional qualification of physicians. And EACCME helps to give credits, which are recognised all around the Europe. I like this approach because a doctor is not isolated form colleagues and not trapped in a vicious circle of home-work-home.


— And what is the role of the National Medical Associations in European countries?

— National Medical Associations do not only gear towards the interests of professional medical associations of physicians by specialisation, but also aim to participate in international life, and it is primarily the events organised by the World Medical Association (WMA), and the main is the General Assembly. I have already took part in several GAs. Firstly, as a member of the Russian Delegation. Later, as an Associate Member of WMA. I had no other way but to be active in this sphere, because the government of Russian Federation is not interested in the participation of each individual physician in this system. A doctor is not a subject of law in Russia. Probably, it is correct not to load a physicians with huge amount of membership fees. But in some countries government pays from the budget to be represented at WMA.

— What is your personal result of the business-trip to the SEEMF Congress?

— Firstly, I got a great pleasure from communication. There were many meetings with physicians from Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Belarus… And, secondly, I invited new friends to visit our event which will be held in Moscow is the second Conference named «Self-regulation in healthcare». The first Conference was held at the ground of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in June, 2017 and had a deep resonance. The President of National Medical Chamber, Leonid Roshal, visited the event themself and gave a high rate to the organisation of the event. And now we have reached an international level and welcome all leaders of Professional Medical Associations from European countries with their reports. I believe, they will tell us many interesting things on medical communities in their countries. By the way, speakers from non-European countries, particularly, from the USA are invited. It was a pleasure to see them ready for cooperation with Russia. It is noticeable that Russian doctors are respected and valued. This means not everything is lost in the healthcare system in Russia. Later, we will surely try to advertise a program of the Second conference «Self-regulation in healthcare system», first and foremost on the website, on my personal website and in Mass Media.