URC Launches USAID Health Care Improvement Project in Georgia

USAID/Georgia Mission Director Mr. Stephen Haykin and URC Senior Vice President and USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) Director Dr. M. Rashad Massoud officially launched HCI Georgia in February at an event in Tbilisi. 

The two-year project, funded by USAID/Georgia, aims to improve the quality, consistency, and continuity of patient medical care on two fronts. It will enhance the quality of medical services in the Imereti region with a strong focus on upgrading physicians’ knowledge and clinical skills in both outpatient and inpatient facilities. In addition, it will implement a set of national level activities to streamline the health sector’s regulatory environment and improve access to and the use of evidence-based clinical information.

During the launch event, Mr. Haykin emphasized U.S. Government support for Georgia’s Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs in its efforts to modernize the health sector and deliver better health services to the Georgian population. Dr. Massoud outlined past and present HCI activities, citing examples of successes in health care improvement in different countries. 

“Improving health care is the key to reduce morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Massoud. “Yet we know from experience that this is not simply a question of providing better guidelines and more training. . . . The problem comes from poor systems, not bad people. [Quality improvement] teams across the world we work with prove that with proper interventions, the systems yield changes for the better, and I will be happy that by the end of the project, we will have the proof of this in Georgia as well.”

“Our plans cannot and will not be implemented without exchanging information, harmonizing activities, sharing resources, and enhancing local capacity,” added Dr. Tamar Chitashvili, Chief of Party for HCI Georgia. “For these reasons, active collaboration with all of you will be the most important step to guarantee the success of the project.” Dr. Chitashvili presented the project’s goals and objectives, key approaches, and planned interventions. 

Participation of Key Decision Makers

Officials from the Ministry and several of its agencies attended the event, including Dr. Rusudan Rukhadze, head of the Health Care Department, and Dr. Lela Sturua, head of the Noncommunicable Disease Department of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. Drs. Rukhadze and Sturua described the current situation in the Georgian health sector and expressed gratitude to USAID and HCI for their support of activities to strengthen the health system and improve patient outcomes. Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), professional medical associations, donor and partner organizations, academic institutions, insurance companies, health care facilities, NGOs, and consulting agencies also attended.

Project Relevance

The event concluded with a discussion of the project’s importance and timeliness and its relevance amid health sector reform. “The most distinguished feature of this project for me is its focus on building capacity of facilities to collect and analyze data to improve their performance,” commented Dr. Tamar Gabunia, Chief of Party of the USAID Tuberculosis Prevention Project (TPP) in Georgia. 

About URC in Georgia

URC’s Tbilisi office opened in November 2011 and manages two USAID-funded projects: HCI Georgia and TPP. URC had previously conducted two USAID-supported assessments in the Europe and Eurasia region, both covering Georgia, Albania, Armenia, and Russia: “Assessment of Noncommunicable Disease Prevention, Screening, and Care Best Practices for Women of Reproductive Age” and “Assessment of Selected Maternal and Newborn Care Best Practices.”

Mr. Stephen Haykin (left) and Dr. M. Rashad Massoud speak at the HCI Georgia launch event in Tbilisi.
Mr. Stephen Haykin (left) and Dr. M. Rashad Massoud speak at the HCI Georgia launch event in Tbilisi.
March 05, 2012
Regions/ Countries