The 18th International Seminar of the International Association of Surgeons, Gastroenterologists and Oncologists (IASGO), during which top scholars from 45 countries and regions are expected to present important advances in the field, opened in Athens on Thursday.
The conference, running to Oct. 27 with the participation of 320 experts, is organized by IASGO in cooperation with the Chinese Society of Surgeons and the Chinese Society of Minimally Invasive Surgery.
The event is also supported by the Greek authorities, the Athens Medical Center Group and the Chinese embassy in Athens as part of celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and China.
"To us, there is no better way of celebrating the 40 years of friendship and cooperation between China and Greece," Chinese Ambassador to Greece Du Qiwen said at the opening ceremony, pointing to the major impact the conference will leave on the development in medicine.
During the seminar which focuses on the latest innovative methods and technical achievements in the diagnosis and management of abdominal malignancies, experts will share knowledge and experiences and build the foundations for future cooperation.
"This is the key of modernizing and upgrading health systems and medical science," Greek Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos stressed in his welcome address, praising China's long history and important achievements in science and the value of international collaboration to face challenges.
"With fruitful cooperation Greece will overcome the difficulties it is facing at this period," the Greek official said.
"It is important for our city to have international conferences right now, especially in days when Athens and Greece are in the middle of a big economic crisis," City of Athens Mayor Yorgos Kaminis said.
Among keynote speakers at Thursday's opening ceremony was IASGO's Secretary General Greek Professor Nikolaos Lygidakis, one of the founding members of the international medical foundation striving to bridge the gap that exists in quality and standard of medical care around the world over the 24 years.
"We need innovative solutions to deliver better healthcare to more people in a more efficient manner," he said.