EU, UN and Government of Georgia launch a new digital health project
22 September 2021
The project aims to minimize the COVID-19 pandemic's negative impact on people’s health through quality telehealth and telemedicine services.
A new joint project on digital health: Minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in Georgia through telemedicine and digital health solutions was launched today at Mukhrovani Ambulatory. This three-year project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by four UN agencies (WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS), working in close cooperation with the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.
Under this new EU-UN initiative, 200 rural facilities will receive basic equipment and another 50 will receive telemedicine equipment to support the safe management of COVID-19. At the same time the new equipment will be used to ensure uninterrupted access to health care for persons with chronic conditions and provision of routine health services for children. Health care providers will also be invited to participate in online training to improve and expand their capacity to provide quality primary health care (PHC) services.
Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia stated, “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.”
“COVID-19 once again showed us the importance of a strong primary health care system; effective utilization of existing resources has enabled us to manage home care for a large number of infected patients,” said Ekaterine Tikaradze, Minister of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. “Introducing telemedicine in primary health care clinics in the regions will significantly improve the system, bringing positive results to both the population and to doctors. The capacity of village doctors will improve, as they will be provided with the newest diagnostic technologies. This has been made possible through our loyal partners, for which I am sincerely grateful.”
"Development through digital transformation is part of building forward better globally as well as in all regions of Georgia,“ said Sabine Machl, UN Resident Coordinator. “Through this joint telemedicine project four UN agencies together with the EU support Georgia with digital health solutions.”
“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,” said Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Georgia.
Digital solutions for health protect and promote health and well-being, improve access to essential health services and reduce the burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In the immediate-term this 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 and increase access to health care regardless of location.
In the long-term, EU and UN support under this project will help build a more resilient primary health care system with telemedicine capacities in Georgia and increase equitable access to health care services regardless of location and contribute to progress towards universal health coverage (UHC).
About the project
The project, “Minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in Georgia through telemedicine and digital health solutions,” aims to harness the potential of digital tools for advancing telehealth services and promoting health in Georgia. This assistance is an integral part of the EU’s and UN’s support to the COVID-19 response in the country, as well as ongoing WHO technical assistance under the UHC-Partnership to support the commitment of national authorities to primary health care reform and the advancement of UHC in Georgia.
The project will be implemented by four UN partners (WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS) under WHO leadership, bringing their respective areas of expertise and added-value to contribute to the overall action’s objective to minimize the COVID-19 pandemic's negative impact on people’s health and the health system through quality telehealth and telemedicine services and to build back better by supporting a sustainable and resilient recovery in Georgia after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This assistance is part of a wider support package provided by the EU and Team Europe consisting of GEL 1.5 billion of new and reallocated assistance to help Georgia address the COVID-19 pandemic, including support to vulnerable groups and economic recovery. That is one of the highest levels of EU assistance per capita to any country in the world and demonstrates the EU’s strong solidarity with Georgia at this time of unprecedented crisis.