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Electronic birth registry introduced in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 19
A new electronic birth registry with the aim of monitoring maternal and newborn health is being launched in Georgia. The new system will help to further enhance healthcare services for pregnant women and children.

The introduction of the electronic module for monitoring maternal and newborn health is being carried out by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the Social Service Agency and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health, with UNICEF’s technical and financial support. The process has also been supported by the University of Tromso of Norway, which will actively be involved in the introductory phase of the module, the UNICEF webpage said.

A series of training programmes for representatives of maternity hospitals and antenatal clinics have been organized to brief them on technical issues related to data entry. Up to 500 representatives of these institutions have been trained throughout the country including those located in Tbilisi and the Imereti, Samegrelo and Adjara Regions.

The new system is an electronic module that does not need to be installed in every computer and that considerably reduces administrative costs. The module collects maternal, foetus, and newborn data that allows full epidemiological analyses.

In practical terms, it means that:

• Any pregnant woman addressing the neonatal clinic for services will be registered in the system with her personal number. The system will collect all the crucial information during the pregnancy with full confidentiality. Only authorized doctors will have access to this data when providing delivery services or high-risk pregnancy inpatient services. The new system will ensure that maternity/medical service providers are informed about the details of the pregnancy period.

• The system will also contain relevant birth-related information. Data on the newborn will be entered into the system and a personal number will be assigned to the child. The personal numbers of the mother and the child will be interlinked for further analysis.

• For the purposes of medical statistics, the system will generate reports, eliminating the need for reentry of the data.

• Paper vouchers for antenatal surveillance will be replaced by electronic ones that will simplify the provision of the state-funded antenatal services. The need to apply in person to the Social Service Agency will be removed, though the agency will be able to easily monitor provision and quality of the services.

• The country will acquire a tool for real-time surveillance of inpatient medical services to women with high-risk pregnancies.

From 2016, it will be mandatory to enter data in the electronic module for maternal and newborn medical surveillance. With this module, the country will improve the maternal and child information management system, as well as guarantee the accuracy of the data, facilitate the monitoring of and reporting on the service provision, and improve service quality and take an active part in global scientific research.

Georgia’s Minister of Health with the head of UNICEF in Georgia, Sascha Graumann, have stated that the process was a step forward.

It should be stated that for years, the death of the pregnant women and newborns has been one of the most painfully consistent problems in Georgia.

The affected families frequently accuse the doctors of indifference, incompetence or unprofessionalism.

For their part, the doctors claimed that the fatal incidents were not their fault, stating that the fatalities were due to factors beyond their control.

It can be said that the modern system is a step forward. However, it should also be admitted that Georgia’s health system still requires further reforms.

Doctors’ qualifications should be closely studied, and those with inferior qualifications, training or experience should be removed from the system, as incompetence could endanger the lives of patients.