Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs
First Lady of Georgia

Wednesday, December 2, 2010

There can be no development in the absence of progress on health-this is why so many of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are directly linked to improving the health of the world population.

All governments, including Georgia's, have to make essential choices when reforming their health care system - be it choosing an appropriate financing system, guaranteeing accessibility to services, safeguarding the quality of these services, or ensuring that health-care professionals are abreast of new developments in diagnostic and treatment methods.

Strengthening the bonds between the United States and Georgia in the sphere of health care is an ambitious and courageous enterprise: The countries lie far away from each other and their standards of living is quite different. But still I think this cooperation can be beneficial to both states, as we share many challenges.

As such, I am pleased to announce the "MEDEA 2011" conference, which will be held in Washington, DC, on February 1-2, 2011, and organized by the Georgian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Georgian Embassy in Washington.

A select group of stakeholders from both the US and Georgia will deliberate on how best to continue the development of the health-care sector in Georgia. Georgian health professionals working in the US will play an essential role in the conference, as will medical and policy leaders from Georgia, their counterparts from the US, foundations focused on health, and other stakeholders. A group of dedicated experts from both countries have been working hard to prepare the conference, as well as to formulate potential projects and initiatives that could form the basis of US-Georgian cooperation in the health sector. I very much hope that you will be able to join us at MEDEA 2011. Your participation will help us create an atmosphere of open discussion and foster innovative approaches, thus leading to long-term, sustainable projects that can further enhance US-Georgia relations.

In closing, allow me to recall how Greek mythology tells us the story of Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece, and how sailing through Western Georgia they received assistance from a clever princess Medea and succeeded in their mission! May this same spirit help lift our efforts to reform Georgia's health system and to build stronger relations between America and Georgia.

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