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Regional Director of WHO for Europe visits Georgia

By Khatia Bzhalava
Tuesday, December 22
On December 18-22, Dr. Hans Kluge, Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) is visiting Georgia. Dr. Kluge has met with the Prime Minister, the Parliament Speaker, and the Health Minister. According to Kluge, his visit focused on working with the government and healthcare system on the response to the virus. Dr. Kluge stated that his incentive is to strengthen the collaboration of the WHO Georgia office.

As the press office of the government’s administration informs, the COVID vaccine was a topic raised at the meeting, adding that Dr. Kluge highly approved of the steps taken by the government in the fight with COVID-19 and stressed the crucial role of clinical hotels and online clinics. Dr. Kluge also emphasized the strategic importance of the Lugar Lab both on local and international levels.

The discussions focused on the vaccination process as well. It was noted that a designated task force has been created with the instruction of the Prime Minister of Georgia, which ensures timely supply of the vaccine as well as infrastructural and logistical readiness for the uninterrupted vaccination process. It was once again mentioned that in parallel with the COVAX platform, there are also ongoing negotiations with international partners and pharmaceutical companies with the engagement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and overseas diplomatic missions of the country. The focus was placed on the significance of the intensive testing program, implemented by the government of Georgia in December.

The PM noted that the country highly respects the recommendations issued by the WHO not only in terms of COVID management but also for the implementation of future reforms. Gakharia stressed the importance of the WHO representatives' visits in the occupied region of Abkhazia twice this year with a special mission to assess the current situation.

During the meeting of Regional Director of WHO for Europe with the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Archil Talakvadze, the conversation focused on the disinformation campaign against Richard Lugar laboratory. According to the official statement, the parties touched upon the tobacco control reform, universal medical insurance, Hepatitis C elimination program, TB prevention and control, initial healthcare, and reforms concerning mental health. They underlined the importance of humanitarian support for the residents of occupied Abkhazia during the pandemic. Emphasis was also placed on the vaccination in Georgia.

On December 18, the Minister of Health of Georgia Ekaterine Tikaradze hosted the Regional Director of WHO for Europe. Dr. Kluge and his delegation had an opportunity to visit clinical hotels and hospitals and were introduced in detail to the role and operations of Primary Healthcare.