First Lady's MEDEA 2010 Opening Message - Feb 1st, 2011
     Watch Opening Remarks

Over the past decade the health care system in Georgia has undergone substantial transformation, including reforms in the organization, financing and delivery of health services. Major shifts were also made to the medical education system. The country through increased domestic investments and significant international assistance has attained critical achievements vis-a-vis health-related Millennium Development Goals (child survival, national responses to HIV, TB and Malaria). However Georgia is still facing a number of critical challenges in the core building blocks of the health system that needs urgent attention and strengthened cooperation at both the national and international levels.

Additional policy, regulatory and capacity building interventions are necessary for ensuring universal coverage and equitable access to high quality care to meet the basic healthcare needs of the Georgian population. This requires optimizing the health financing system, building highly skilled human resources, improving quality of service delivery, enhancing the health information system and strengthening the government's stewardship function.

The United States through international development assistance supported by USAID and its implementing partners since the early 1990s as well as academic cooperation initiatives continues to be one of the most critical partners for strengthening the national health system in Georgia.

At the same time, the last 10 years has witnessed expansion of the Georgian medical community in the United States. Academic exchange programs as well as individual initiatives undertaken by Georgian medical and public health practitioners have resulted in creating a solid cohort of Georgian healthcare professionals who are currently residing and working in the United States. The cumulated expertise of Georgian professionals in the United States has emerged as another important resource to help bringing the Georgian health system up-to-date with the latest scientific evidence and best international practices.

Against this background under the patronage of the First Lady of Georgia, the Embassy of Georgia to the United States and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs are organizing the first Georgia-US Conference 'Georgian Health Care 2020: MEDEA 2011'.


The conference will bring together Government of Georgia officials, representatives of US and international organizations, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders supporting health sector reform and programs in Georgia and Georgian medical and public health professionals who have been practicing in the United States.

The purpose of the Conference is to:

  1. Generate awareness and common vision on the current developments and challenges faced by the health care system in Georgia and to identify key strategic priorities to strengthen the existing capacities of the system in 2011-2020;
  2. Set up a forum and continuous format for the exchange of information and expertise among bio-medical and public health communities in Georgia and the United States (Georgian institutions, individual experts, US think tanks, academia, NGOs and development agencies) to facilitate accelerated implementation of best practices in clinical medicine, public health and health system strengthening in Georgia;
  3. Discuss and agree on the roadmap and a work-plan for institutionalizing the support and integration of the Georgian expat community in the Georgian health reforms both in the long-term (10 years) and short-term (1-2 years) perspectives;
  4. Map technical, financial and human resources available through the Georgian expat community in the US, as well as American and US-based international financial and technical organizations, and matching them with the needs of Georgian health reforms, and
  5. Agree on mechanisms how to attract foreign investments, and international development assistance (both technical and financial) for implementation of the agreed 2011-2020 roadmap and 2011-2012 work plan in Georgia.

The Conference is expected to generate the following outcome documents and agreements:

  • A broad, long-term vision and Roadmap for 2011-2020 on how the bio-medical and public health communities based in the United States can support strengthening of the Georgian health care system;
  • An outline of the 2011-2012 Work Plan for accelerated implementation of priority recommendations and specific projects, including a concrete resource mobilization strategy;
  • A set of practical recommendations (a list of policy options) for the Ministry of Health's consideration to include on the health reform agenda, and
  • An agreement on institutional mechanisms (non-governmental organization, task force, group of experts, or an alternative format) how to facilitate follow-up, coordination, resource mobilization and implementation of the agreed 2011-2020 Roadmap and 2011-2012 Action Plan. This shall include an outline of potential collaboration between the Government of Georgia, the US Government and other international organizations on how to access currently available international support mechanisms for health systems strengthening.


The Embassy of Georgia to the United States in consultation with the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia has brought together an Expert's Group (ref.: appendix A) to inform the design and preparations of the Conference.

As per recommendations of the Expert's Group and consultation with the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the Conference will be structured around three priority health systems blocks (human resources for health, financing and health service delivery) and a parallel discussion on investment opportunities for the Georgian health system.

The plenary session will cover presentations on the status and challenges of priority health systems' functions in Georgia as a departure point for further discussions. The presentations will be drawn on the two most recent publications, which provide extensive descriptive overview of the Georgian health sector (Georgia Health System Performance Assessment and the Georgia Health System Review ), other technical references and the Ministry's own policy review and analysis. The plenary presentations will set the stage for working groups' discussions by synthesizing major achievements and , the remaining challenges and opportunities within the specific health system area.

Four working groups will include: (1) Human Resources for Health; (2) Health Financing; (3) Service Delivery, and (4) Invest in Georgian Health Care. The first three working groups will summarize key challenges in each of the health systems' building blocks and identify major strategies, priority actions and resource implications for overcoming the existing bottleneck(s) in both short- and long-term perspectives. The fourth group will review case studies on private investments in Georgian health system and discuss future investment opportunities.

The working group discussions and outcome recommendations should remain focused on the priority areas and actions where the technical and financial resources of US-based bio-medical and health professionals and institutions could be leveraged most strategically.

    Each of the working groups will discuss the following questions:

    1. What are the key barrier(s) in the specific area within the Georgian context?
    2. What are the key strategies and priority actions for overcoming these barrier(s)?
    3. What are the main capacity and financial gaps towards implementing the recommended strategies and priority actions?
    4. How can the US-based bio-medical and public health community facilitate strengthening the existing health system capacities in Georgia?
      • What priority actions can be implemented in 2011-2012? In 2011-2020?
      • What technical and financial resources are necessary for implementing the recommended actions in 2011-2012? In 2011-2020?
      • What resources are already available and/or pledged and what are the remaining gaps for resource-mobilization and leveraging in 2011-2012? In 2011-2020?

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