New Digital Health Project Launched
The European Union, 4 UN Agencies, namely WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia launched a new initiative on digital health: Minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in Georgia through telemedicine and digital health solutions.
Under this new initiative of EU and UN, with purpose to support safe management of COVID-19, 200 rural facilities will receive basic equipment and additional 50 facilities will receive telemedicine devices, which will ensure uninterrupted and wide access to health care services for the patients with chronic diseases and provision of children with routine healthcare services.
In order to improve and expand capacities of healthcare workers to provide high quality primary health care services, they will have the possibility to participate in online retraining courses.
EU Ambassador to Georgia H.E. Carl Hartzell states, “Helping the people of Georgia to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic has been a key priority for the European Union from the very first day. With this innovative project that we are launching together with our UN partners, we hope to reach even more citizens throughout Georgia with healthcare services. Proper access to healthcare should be for everyone, and we hope to contribute to this goal.”
“This is one of the priority projects for the Ministry of Health. Primary Health Care ensures addressing of primary healthcare needs of the citizens, which reflects on heath conditions of the patients and has a further influence on the load of hospital sector”, - stated Minister of Heath, Ekaterine Tikaradze.
“We are not talking just about technologies. In parallel with introduction of new technology, intense retraining of the personnel is planned. The process has already started and this significantly contributes to improvement of quality of primary health care services. This new initiative, in addition to consultations provided to the patients, will allow making the diagnosis, issuing prescription with involvement of specialized doctors. With efforts of the Ministry of Health, this digital solution has been already introduced in 50 rural ambulatories, with assistance of this project, before the end of the year, more than 100 ambulatories will be equipped with the telemedicine devices”, - stated Minister.
“Apart from supporting the immediate response to COVID-19 at the PHC level, this project is going to build a solid and sustainable foundation for digital health and telemedicine in Georgia, by supporting the development of the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks, clinical guidelines, provision of specific trainings for PHC personnel and promoting the use of telemedicine services among health care providers and the population,” – stated Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Georgia.
Utilization of telemedicine and digital health care services are essential in terms of safe management of COVID-19. In parallel, digital solutions ensure uninterrupted and wide access to health care services for the patients with chronic diseases during the pandemic and in post-covid period. The project will contribute to reducing the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the health of the population and health care system in Georgia.
In the long-term, this joint project will help build a more resilient primary health care system with telemedicine capacities in Georgia to ensure equitable access to health care services for the patients located in remote areas and will contribute to progress towards universal health coverage.