Minister Andrew Urushadze
Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia

January 10, 2011

On behalf of my Government and of the people of Georgia, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Georgian Health Care 2020: MEDEA 2011. The conference marks an important step both in our country's efforts to continue improving our health-care system, and also in our deepening cooperation with our partners in the United States. It is organized under the auspices of the First Lady of Georgia, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Affairs of Georgia and the Embassy of Georgia to the United States.

Over the past decade, Georgia's health care system has undergone a substantial transformation, led by concerted governmental efforts and with significant international support. The objective of MEDEA 2011 is to now bring together a variety of stakeholders who can play an important role in improving and investing in Georgia's health-care system: Georgian and US Government officials, Georgian medical doctors and public health professionals practicing in the US, NGO representatives, private sector stakeholders, and international organizations supporting reform in Georgia.

Our goal at the conference is to analyze the policy and capacity-building measures needed to strengthen Georgia's health systems. The Ministry sees MEDEA 2011 as an important platform to synthesize the key actions our Government should take together with its international partners in order to grow the capacity of our health system capacities and to improve health outcomes for the Georgian people.

In this context, our partnership with the American people is especially important. The US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, signed in 2009, elaborates a common desire to deepen the friendship and bilateral cooperation between our two democracies with a view of achieving shared goals across a broad spectrum of priorities, including healthcare.

I wish you a very successful and enjoyable conference. I trust this will be the first of many such events that tie together the health communities of our two countries over the coming years.

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