Moldova (official name – Republic of Moldova) – it’s a beautiful country located in the southern-western extreme of the Eastern-European plain, in the Europe’s heart.
Moldova occupies a relatively small surface of 33.7 thousand km2, the biggest part lies between the Prut and Dniester rivers. It is bordered by Romania to the West and by Ukraine to the North, East and South.
From the administrative point of view, the country is organized in 32 districts, five municipalities (Balti, Bender, Chisinau, Comrat, Tiraspol), one autonomous region (Gagauzia), and one autonomous territorial unit with special status – the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The country is landlocked, without sea access, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. Moldova has a moderately continental climate, and the moderate Mediterranean winds playing the main impact on the weather conditions formation. Important temperature fluctuations are extremely rare in Moldova, with precipitations all year long.
All Moldova’s rivers are part of the Black sea basin, the largest of the, are Dniester and Prut. Moreover Moldova has access to the Danube for about 600 m. While most of the country is hilly, elevations never exceed 430 m – the highest point being the Balanesti Hill. Forests cover only 9% of the country territory.
A special attention deserves the Moldovan wine industry, which has been developed since ancient times. According to historians, viticulture and winemaking in the territory between the rivers Dniester and Prut appeared 4000-5000 years ago, they experienced periods of prosperity and decline, but persisted in time.
Nowadays, the Moldovan vineyards cover about 147 thousand hectares or 7.4% of all agricultural lands in Moldova, accounting for 2.3% of the total area in the world set aside for this culture. The Republic of Moldova is ranked 7th in the world among the wine producing countries by volume of wine exports (4% of the world total), ahead of Germany, Argentina and Portugal and 12th place in terms of money (1.4% of the world exports). According to World Guinness Book, the Moldovan wines collestion “Milestii Mici, including 1.5 million bottles, it is the largest in Europe. Its cellars stretch for 200 km under the ground, but now are used only 50 km.
Importantly, the emblem of Moldovan winemaking is considered the underground city Cricova. Its galleries stretch for 70 km, and the streets have symbolic names: Dionysus, Feteasca, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Located at eleven kilometres distance from the capital of Moldova, Cricova cellars were built in a natural limestone at a 35-80 m depth. The cellars contain about 30 million litres of wine, including “National Wine” – a wonderful collection of legendary wines, both local and foreign. Every year, Cricova cellars attract thousands of tourists.
From religious point of view, Moldova is an Orthodox state: 93.3% of the population identify themselves as Orthodox Christians. The remaining persons are Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists and Pentecostals.
According the data from 2012, the resident population of the Republic of Moldova represents up to 3.6 million people, with the average life expectancy of 71.8 years, and a population density of 111.4 persons by km². It is important to note that the population of the Republic of Moldova is multinational and multicultural. The capital of Moldova is Chisinau – the cultural, scientific and political center of the country.
Here are the largest higher education institutions of the republic, as well as research centers, buildings of the Presidency, Parliament and Government. According to the last census, the number of residents of the Chisinau municipality is 794,800 people. Chisinau is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe, given the abundance of green spaces, parks and gardens in the city.
There is only one educational institution providing higher medical formation in Republic of Moldova – the Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Its history dates back to the heavy post-war year 1945. The actual university was founded on the basis of the Leningrad Medical Institute №1, evacuated, at the first, to Kislovodsk during the Second World War, and thereafter transferred to Chisinau, together with students and faculty members. Despite the difficul
t economic situation of the country, the State Medical Institute had a fast and important development. Since 1990, the Institute is named after Nicolae Testemitanu, one of the first of its graduates, a prominent scientist and public figure. On July 25, 1991, the national Medical Institute was reorganized into a new state – University.
What does it represent nowadays the Nicolae Testemitanu State University and Pharmacy from Chisinau, Republic of
Moldova? It is currently a scientific, medical and cultural centre of education, both for doctors and pharmacists. It is one of the leading educational institutions of Moldova, and it has been recognized and accredited by a number of authoritative international organizations in Europe, USA, and Middle East. Among our medical students, there are an important number of international students, mainly from Israel and India. Annually are admitted approximately 500 students from Moldova and 400 from other countries. That’s why the training is conducted in four languages – Romanian, Russian, English and French, carried out by highly qualified teaching staff. The average number of students, including all Faculties is about 5.500 students plus 1600 residents. Since its foundation, the university “grew” more than 40 thousand doctors, working both in Moldova and abroad.
There are two Departments of Neurology. The first was founded in October 1945 by Prof. Boris Sharapov, eminent representative of Neurological Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia. He led the department with little interruption until 1969. Prof. Sharapov formed the basis of education, clinical and scientific activity, initiating a series of researches devoted to clinical and pathological manifestations of brain and spinal trauma. His numerous fellows worked as senior specialists, leading various neurological clinics (Professors P. Lecar in St. Petersburg, P. Areshev and A. Glaurov in Simferopol, I. Curaco in Odessa, A. Nacu and D. Gherman in Chisinau).
Since 2010 this department is headed by Prof. Mihail Gavriliuc, disciple of Prof. Diomid Gherman. The main topics of research are focused on the pathogenesis of cerebrovascular pathology, and the phenomenon of ischemic preconditioning, which could generate new solutions in the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. At the moment, in the Neurology Department there are two more professors (Vitalie Lisnic and Ion Moldovanu), and 2 associate professors (Elena Manole and Marina Sangheli). The department activity consists of teaching, research, and practical public health. Each employee of the department is a leader in one of the neurology areas.
The second Department of Neurology was founded in 1995, mainly dedicated to postgraduate training of neurologists and continuing medical education. Since the very beginning this department has been chaired by Prof. Stanislav Groppa, disciple of the famous Russian neurologist Levon Badalean. The research focus of Prof. Groppa and his team is related to stroke and epilepsy.
In order to become a neurologist in Moldova, you must graduate the medical faculty (training held for six years), and pass four years of residency. It is important to note that all young neurologists speak fluently foreign languages (particularly English, French, Russian, and German), which enables them to attend international congresses and conferences, and pass different training courses abroad. Almost all of them have been trained in the Spring School of Young Neurologists and internships in leading Western neurological clinics. We can say that our Neurology Department is a kind of forge of neurologists for Western clinics; about 50% of graduates, leave to work in France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and the United States. However, Moldova has a sufficient number of neurologists to cover its population, including 300 specialists for adults and 70 pediatric neurologists. There is a net women predominance in this medical field, the ratio women to men neurologists in Moldova being about 4 to 1. The ratio neurologist versus number of population is about 1 per 10.000 populations, which can be interpreted like one of the best indicators in Europe.
The National Neurological Society of Moldova was founded in 1972 by Prof. Diomid Gherman, who has been its president until 2010. Since 2010 the current president is Prof. Vitalie Lisnic. The Society holds monthly meetings at which speakers from various fields of neurology are invited, and attended by about 150 neurologists from the entire country. These meetings are a real opportunity to find out the last news in the field, to exchange practical experience and review interesting clinical cases.
The health care system of the Republic of Moldova as a whole is managed by the Ministry of Health from the Republic of Moldova (one of sixteen ministries of the Moldova’s Government). After the Soviet Union collapse, the Republic of Moldova, as well as all other former socialist countries, passed through a severe economic crisis, which strongly affected the situation of healthcare in our country. In was only in 1998 when in Moldova was implemented the politics of mandatory health insurance, and when the situation stabilized in our healthcare system. Currently, the budget for medical services is assured by the funds from the state and the taxes that are deducted on a monthly basis in the compulsory health insurance fund. The system is built on the principles of solidarity; each employed citizen pays 4% of their salary, another 4% are paid by his employer. These rates do not vary depending on the level of earnings, providing equal access to medical services to all medical insurance owners. The state provides free medical insurance for children (up to 18 years); pensioners; pregnant women and young mothers until the child is one and a half years, students; persons with disabilities; officially registered unemployed persons, and other socially vulnerable categories of citizens. In addition, citizens without formal employment and visitors can buy by their own the medical insurance. However, persons who do not have medical insurance, still can receive primary health care (family doctor’s consultation or emergency services), but further treatment will be at their own expense. It is important to note that the Moldovan medicine, as in most European countries, is based on the principles of “family medicine” – on specialists’ consultations or planned hospitalization, patients are referred by family doctors.
Neurological care can be provided at different levels, primary (local policlinics and hospitals), secondary (regional hospitals) and tertiary (national hospital). There is one national neurological hospital – the Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, many specialized neurological departments within municipal hospital for adults, and four pediatric neurological departments. The neuroemergency cases are mainly concentrated at the department of Neurology within the Emergency Medicine Institute, leaded by Prof. Groppa. The strong scientific relations with leading Western neurological centers and specialists allow a multidisciplinary and multi-center approach to difficult patients, which finally lead to better patient’s management. The last year we can note good achievements in the neurorehabilitation field, based on the British regenerative medicine methods. In Chisinau, there is also a national children’s rehabilitation center, where young patients with neurological disorders pass for free intensive rehabilitation courses several times for a year.
And finally, why should you visit Moldova? Moldova – is a modern country with good infrastructure, and where you can find everything for a comfortable life, work and travel. Moldovans are very hospitable people; they meet each guest as a long-awaited. National dishes and wines surprise with all their diversity, as well as with their richness and depth of flavor. Moldova’s views are absolutely breathtaking. Imagine the steep hills and deep valleys, cascading to the narrow strip of rivers, green in spring and summer, golden autumns and snowy winters. Imagine the endless orchards and vineyards, ancient forests with oaks and beeches, and picturesque villages with golden onion-domed churches, gazing at the sky. In addition, any doctor who comes to our country will be able to expand his/her knowledge in any branch of medicine, because the Republic of Moldova is a fertile ground for scientific and practical activities.
By Vitalie Lisnic, Mihail Gavriliuc, Elena Manole, Elena Costru-Tasnic, and Maria Brailean