Nearly 1,500 leading medical specialists from 36 countries and territories gathered in Hanoi on Nov. 25 for the 10 th Meeting of Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA 2010).

Opening the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen stressed the importance and developments of endolaparoscopic surgery in the medical sector since the technology was first applied in the 1980s and the achievements obtained by Vietnamese surgeons and scientists.

This meeting was an opportunity for Vietnamese specialists to meet with colleagues from regional countries and the world, helping the Vietnamese medical sector integrate internationally, the deputy minister said.

The three-day meeting heard almost 500 reports on advanced endolaparoscopy, presenting the latest and most important achievements at global and regional health care centres. The Vietnamese specialists presented new achievements in endolaparoscopy in the country.

In addition, the delegates participated in an interactive television programme on endolaparoscopic surgeries from the Vietnam-Germany Hospital and the Central Paediatrics Hospital and attended the launching ceremony of the Exhibition Centre for Medical Instruments and Pharmaceuticals.

Later that day, delegates were received by State President Nguyen Minh Triet, who affirmed the Party and State’s attention to the medical sector and its commitment to ongoing investment in the sector.

Although poor and war-devastated, Vietnam has almost completed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule, with outstanding achievements in health care and poverty reduction.

President Triet welcomed international delegates to ELSA 2010, saying they brought to the Vietnamese people friendly sentiments from international friends and shared experiences on the world’s most advanced medicine with Vietnamese colleagues.

He said he hoped other countries would help Vietnam in training doctors, recommend well-known professors and scientists to work and lecture in Vietnam and invest in health care, in order to help Vietnam build modern health care centres.

International delegates spoke highly of recent developments in Vietnam ’s medical sector, including endolaparoscopic surgery and Vietnamese doctors’ skills, helping reduce the rate of Vietnamese people seeking treatment abroad./.