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“Georgian Primary Healthcare Should be Unique” — Jean-Elie Malkin

“New demands on primary health care emerge due to aging, depopulation and need of prevention and long-term care of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Because of underinvestment in primary care in the previous decades, the current supply of primary care needs significant strengthening of network, infrastructure, human resources, financing and setting the right incentives to produce quality services and universal coverage with primary care,” reads Georgia’s Ministry of Health’s and the international consulting group Global Alliance’s shared event’s statement.

The event titled “Primary Health Care: The Way Forward in Georgia” was held in the Ministry of Labour Health and Social Affairs of Georgia on July 16. The event’s main focus was dedicated to creating a platform where domestic and international experts can share their ideas on planning the new Primary Healthcare network and system in Georgia. The Ministry of Health and Global Alliance recognize the Primary Healhcare as the pillar of a new healthcare system that is due to be established in Georgia.

International experts Jean-Elie Malkin from Global Alliance and Prof. Peter Makara from Semmelweiss University Budapest shared with the local media their main points on developing a successful Primary Healthcare in Georgia.

Both underlined the importance of recognizing Primary Healthcare as the priority for the country. “Since the Independence Day of Georgia Primary Healthcare has been stressed as the main priority by the government, however this just remained true in rhetoric and nothing substantial has been done in this regard up until this point,” Hungarian Prof. Makara specializing in Public Health Policy told the Georgian media. Jean-Elie Malkin, the president of the consulting group Global Alliance, who is actively working with the Minister of Health David Sergeenko in the Hepatitis C elimination program in his turn told the media that Georgia needs to create its own Primary Healthcare model that will be accommodated to the country’s healthcare specificities. Mr Malkin stressed that many countries may have similar programs, but Georgia needs to focus on creating a unique model that will be successful for the country.

You can read the full interviews of the two experts below, as well as watch the footage on CBW’s Youtube Channel:

Jean-Elie Malkin: “Let me, first of all, congratulate the Ministry of Health of Georgia for taking the issue of Primary Healthcare as a priority for the country. It’s very important; it’s a real framework for the process of improving the healthcare system of Georgia. We as Global Alliance are delighted to participate in this process.

So, there is already an established Primary Healthcare system in Georgia, but we can always improve the system. We can always improve it by giving more tools, skills, finance and I will say – which is very important – recognition to the doctors who are in charge. By this I want to point out not only the doctors but also the med-sisters who work for Primary Healthcare.”

I think the fundamental change will come when the overall health system will improve with Primary Healthcare as one of the cornerstones of this process of improvement. The population will see that now they will get more quality of care in Primary Healthcare and it will be easier to go to Primary Healthcare instead of bypassing this system by going to the secondary level hospitals.

 

Peter Makara: “First, there is a need of understanding on the level of politics – to really support Primary Healthcare and not only in rhetoric. Second, more funding is needed of course. Increased funding is needed, but in a correctly allocated way. Thirdly, more standardized methods, reference systems, guidelines are needed for this.

Better salaries for the medical personnel and better prestige is needed.

Also, improved infrastructure for Primary Healthcare. All this should be put together in a universal comprehensive system of Healthcare where everything starts on primary level and then with referral system and quality control, all this goes to the secondary level, to the hospitals. The key priority issue should be isolating mountainous areas’ public health.”