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Country of the month - Georgia

August 2017



This report was prepared by:

Zurab-Klimiashvili-2017.jpg

Dr Zurab Klimiashvili, MD
Director of the Cardiology Clinic LTD “Cardionet Pineo”, Tbilisi, Georgia
National CVD Prevention Coordinator for Georgia

with the assistance and advice from:
•    Georgian Society of Cardiology
•    National Center for Disease Control and Public Health

Documents to download

Baseline information about Georgia

Georgia is since 1991 a parliamentary republic with 3.717 million inhabitants. Its area of 70.000 km2 can be compared to Austria.

The country has a life expectancy at birth of 72.9 years. It has a young population with only 14.3% above the age of 65. The population is mainly Orthodox Christian Georgian. The annual growth in economy is around 3%.

Read the full report

Health care

The health sector is one of the priority sectors for the government of Georgia. Medical care is provided both at state owned health facilities and at private institutions. After 2003-2004 the healthcare system was reformed into a heavily privatised model. The state retained control over a few medical facilities dealing with mental illness and infectious diseases, while all other hospitals and clinics were privatised. Primary care is delivered by general practitioners.

The Georgian government provides financial coverage through a state agency, the Social Service Agency, though patients must share the cost of some services through co-pays. While the state finances healthcare, the delivery of healthcare is largely reliant on private medical facilities and personnel

Read the full report

Risk factors

In Georgia, like in the most of the countries over the World, non-communicable diseases has the largest share in the mortality structure. Diseases of the circulatory system constitute 15.5% of all registered cases of diseases in the country, and 8.6% of all new cases. High morbidity and mortality rates are specific for such diseases as hypertension, ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases. According to WHO 2014 Health Report, non-communicable diseases account for nearly 94% of all deaths, among them 69% due to CVDs, 14% to cancer, 1% to diabetes and 4% to chronic respiratory diseases.

  • According to surveys data, about 34% of the population suffers from either developed, or potential hypertension.
  • Age-standardised prevalence of tobacco smoking among persons 15 years and older: 29.6
  • The prevalence of diabetes is estimated to be 15% of the population.
  • Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) is more frequent in women (25.9%) than in men (17.9%), with a prevalence in general population of 22,1%

In 2000 - 2015, prevalence of diseases of the circulatory system in Georgia has followed the upward trend.

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Main actors

The main actors in cardiovascular prevention in Georgia are:

  • The Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia
  • The National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC)
  • The Georgian Society of Cardiology (GSC)
  • The Georgian Association for CVD Prevention and Rehabilitation (GACPAR)
  • The Georgian Heart Foundation

Read the full report

Prevention activities

Based on the information provided by the STEPS surveys the multi-sectorial State Council on NCD Prevention and Control was established in 2015. The National Strategy of NCD Prevention and Control and a 4-year action plan has been endorsed in January 2017.

Based on the STEPS and other survey data and according to the strategy and action plan the essential drugs for major NCDs (IHD and stroke, asthma and COPD, Diabetes type 2 and thyroid gland dysfunction) for the most vulnerable populations are now provided through the Universal Healthcare Program. This has been operational during the past four years and covers basic benefit package services and some medications at the primary care level.

The National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health is implementing the State Program on Health Promotion, the largest component of which is tobacco control, which includes a media campaign, training of the quit-smoking line staff and primary health care centres monitoring of enforcement of smoke-free legislation in public premises, developing tobacco cessation mobile application and school educational materials. The other components are among others alcohol, nutrition, physical activity, mental health.

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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiovascular rehabilitation unfortunately is not well disseminated at present in Georgia due to insufficient financing. There are no dedicated programmes or specialised cardiac rehabilitation centers in Georgia, merely a few centers in the private sector which operate programs for which patients pay out of pocket. Expanding cardiac rehabilitative centers across the country would assist in reduction of CV disability.

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Aims for the future

The key actions for the next five years:

  • Systematic assessment of barriers to CVD prevention on the levels of patient, provider, health care system and organizational level.
  • Improvement of CVD epidemiology and statistical analysis methods, as well as piloting of various incentives for furtherance of prevention in health care, including the primary care level.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation: organizing cardiac rehabilitation programs in all major hospitals and clinics, as well as establishing specialized centers in the major cities.

Finally, we need to study the experience of other countries which have witnessed a similar transition like in our country.

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Note: The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.