WHO and EU support training of medical personnel in regions of Georgia to reduce impact of COVID-19

140 health workers from across Georgia – front-line responders to the pandemic – receive specialized training to effectively respond to COVID-19 cases and at the same time, ensure own safety and prevent further transmission. Ambulance doctors, nurses and emergency vehicle drivers are trained on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for preventing and controlling infection during the transportation of patients with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases. Trainings are conducted by the Emergency Situation Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center, within the framework of Solidarity for Health Initiative, implemented by WHO and funded by the EU.

Clear and practical, easy to remember instructions were developed by project partners so that they can be quickly implemented by ambulance teams to ensure adequate support to the patients and at the same time, prevent further spread of infection. In addition, a special protocol was developed for assessing the risk of infection among health workers exposed to COVID-19.

“Patients often hide symptoms that indicate their infection, which increases the risks of infection for the medical personnel and especially, front-line responders. This is why I keep reminding my staff to always use personal protective equipment, so that medical personnel do not become the cause of further spread of the virus,” – says Ilya Besalashvili, Ambulance Manager from Kaspi. “We found this training extremely useful, as it gives better insights on how doctors, nurses and drivers should operate to guarantee our safety as well as safety of our families, patients, and their family members.”

Trained doctors, in turn, will share information with their colleagues – over 7,000 medical specialists, village doctors, ambulance teams and resuscitators.

“When COVID-19 broke out and the information on the virus was poor, the infection spread through the ambulance teams so quickly that we had to close services in some regions. It was a real nightmare,” says Vasil Davitashvili, Instructor, Training Center for Coordination of Action in Emergencies and Emergency Aid. “Today we have good knowledge and necessary personal protective equipment. These trainings ensure better prevention and increase our self-confidence.”

“During this post-crisis period, when epidemiological situation is relatively stable in Georgia, all efforts should be directed to ensure that the health system is well prepared in case of additional needs in the near future.” – says Silviu Domente, WHO Representative in Georgia. “Protecting health workers – people at the frontline – is of strategic importance, as these are individuals that make vital contribution to the fight against COVID-19. We are happy to see that training participants, on top of theoretical knowledge, are able to practice skills of correct use of personal protective equipment.”

During the first phase of Solidarity for Health Initiative, WHO’s and EU’s efforts were focused on responding to most stringent needs of the health system in relation to COVID-19 response and included delivery of a substantial cargo of PPEs (over 1.5 million items) for frontline health and laboratory workers, conducting a Behavioral Insight Study in the general population, and strengthening national capacities on enhanced surveillance and infection prevention and control.

This assistance is part of a wider package of EU support for Georgia of over €400 million (almost GEL 1.5 billion) which includes support to vulnerable groups and economic recovery.  In total, the EU has committed over €15 billion globally to support partner countries combat COVID-19.

For more information, please contact:

Tamila Zardiashvili, WHO, zardiashvilit@who.int

Tamriko Mikadze, Delegation of EU to Georgia, tamriko.mikadze@eeas.europa.eu

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