Leave no one behind - strengthening health and social systems affected by COVID-19 in Georgia
Effective communication, health and protection measures/ support are in place to steer vulnerable population groups through the pandemic and to build community resilience for a sustainable, inclusive COVID-19 recovery (contribution to SDGs 1 & 3, and to EU GAP III Thematic objectives of "Promoting economic and social rights and empowering girls and women" and “Ensuring freedom from all forms of gender-based violence”).
1) Vulnerable population groups are informed about public health issues and vaccinations;
2) Public health services and child protection mechanisms are strengthened to respond to the repercussions of the pandemic;
3) Long term COVID-19 affected vulnerable population groups living in/ attending care services are supported with needs-based and gender-sensitive support and improved services.
Total direct beneficiaries: 2,890 persons (including adults and children with disabilities, street connected children, elderly people, vulnerable girls and women, family doctors and general practitioners, psychologists, community health workers and community social workers, local municipal governments’ representatives);
Location: 15 municipalities in 5 regions of Georgia: Tbilisi (all 5 Municipalities), Imereti (Kutaisi, Zestafoni, Bagdati), Kakheti (Telavi, Gurjaani, Kvareli), Samtskhe-Javakheti (Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi), Adjara (Batumi).
Identify communication and information gaps on immunization; produce a communication guidebook and a 2-year communication action plan; develop training modules and materials on relevant health topics; train health personnel and community social workers; conduct information sessions for vulnerable women and girls and their male family members on reproductive health and COVID-19/ other diseases and violence against women; conduct information sessions about important health measures and vaccinations with community leaders and faith leaders; implement joint small community projects with local groups for awareness raising on immunization and other important health measures; provide tablets and trainings to health workers; create a digital family assessment form on health and vaccination and pilot in one municipality to identify at risk groups and make respective referrals to health or social institutions; conduct refresher trainings for family doctors and municipal social workers on referral mechanisms and Child Protection cases; assess the work of Child Protection Units on municipal level; advocate for the implementation of the Child Rights Code; equip Public Health Centres; conduct assessment on the needs of vulnerable groups living in / attending state care centres and develop recommendations; conduct regional advocacy meetings for resource mobilization for further social assistance for vulnerable groups; provide targeted assistance to vulnerable groups.
The challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia are manifold. Apart from the direct health impacts on thousands of individuals (more than a million people were tested positive and more than 15 thousand deaths were recorded) there are devastating results for the economy, the social and health systems. The national COVID-19 response faces challenges in vaccine coverage despite intensive communication campaigns. Furthermore, the pandemic has weakened the health and social systems, and this negatively impacted other essential public health activities (childhood vaccination, other diseases prevention/treatment) and also resulted in rise of violence against children and a decline in the identification and reporting of cases. Overall, the effects of the COVID-19 crises impacted disproportionally those who were already the most vulnerable, hence the need for targeted assistance to support them.