URC supports Georgian Patient’s Union initiative to improve community based TB care

This year marks URC’s 50th anniversary of improving the quality of health care, social services, and education worldwide. To celebrate, URC hosted a community program contest asking URC country teams to nominate a local organization that would benefit from URC support. The Georgian Patient’s Union (GPU) was one of three winning organizations awarded a grand prize donation of $2,000. 

GPU was nominated by Georgia’s Chief of Party, Tamar Gabunia, and Georgia’s country team. Located in Tbilisi, this non-government organization aims to improve community based tuberculosis (TB) care through peer education and outreach as a secretariat for the Georgia TB Coalition. The group currently holds 31 members, including 21 members affected by TB. GPU is the first organization in Georgia involving former TB patients who are willing to act as advocates and peer-educators to newly diagnosed TB patients.

Not only are they acting as community peer educators, they are actively involved in the development of the National Tuberculosis Strategy and the Concept Note for the Global Fund financing in 2016-2018.

Although GPU members have extensive knowledge of TB, including ways to work with patients to diagnose and treat the disease, they lack the means for delivering these services. Without the proper knowledge about TB, patients cannot be expected to adhere to treatment recommendations. But thanks to the USAID Georgia Tuberculosis Prevention Project (TPP) an electronic patient-education application was developed for improving patient counseling and outreach.

The URC’s donation will be used to purchase two laptops and three tablets to install the 25-minute android-based patient education application. The module serves as a visual representation for patients to become aware of TB, how it spreads, how it is diagnosed, and their specific treatment plan. The application module is equipped with geo tagging and time for quality assurance and will increase the credibility of patient education during outreach home visits that GPU members voluntarily provide to known patients linked to their network.

GPU will accept the award at the conference to be held in Tbilisi on November 9th. All major TB stakeholders including representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, National Center for Tuberculosis and lung Diseases, TB specialists and primary care providers will attend this event. The conference aims to build linkages between formal structures within the National TB Program and the GPU which will start offering peer education services in collaboration with health professionals.

Congratulations to the Georgia Patient’s Union for their amazing work!

GPU members marking World TB Day in Tbilisi, Georgia (2014)
GPU members marking World TB Day in Tbilisi, Georgia (2014)
November 12, 2015
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