Caritas Czech Republic summed up the two-year achievements of the Czech Development Agency-funded Zugdidi Screening Center, the only outpatient clinic in the region, offering state screening programs to the population of West Georgia.
The Results of the Two-Year Work
Caritas Czech Republic and Cancer Prevention Center (CPC), our partner organization through the project, summed up the two-year work of the Zugdidi Screening Center and presented the results of ten-years long efforts to raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. The event was attended by the representatives of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Georgia, Caritas Czech Republic, Zugdidi City Mayor – Mamuka Tsotseria, and other stakeholders involved in social and health services. The guests were hosted by the Zugdidi Screening Center administrative and medical staff led by Rema Gvamichava, Director of the center.
At the event, the opening speech was delivered by Petr Mikyska, Czech Ambassador to Georgia, who emphasized the importance of the accessibility to national screening programs for the population of West Georgia:
“Today is a very special and important day for me because two years ago, at about this time, I was here at the opening of the Zugdidi Screening Center, and it was itself already an achievement. And today, we see that this center is working, it is helping people and raising awareness about the oncology programs in the region. We are glad to support and help the population of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, as well as the IDPs from Abkhazia who also have access to these services”.
Irine Pochkhua, Medical Director of the Zugdidi Screening Center, presented the results and achievements of the state screening programs for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer and talked about the challenges the center overcame during the previous two years, especially after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Afterward, Rema Gvamichava, Director of Zugdidi Screening Center and the professor working in the field of oncology for decades, emphasized the special role of local medical personnel whose experience and knowledge significantly contributed to the center’s success. Gvamichava also noted that the greatest success of the project is that now the population of West Georgia has the access to the only mammography machine in the region and they do not have to travel to Tbilisi for screening purposes.
At the end, Tamar Kurtanidze, Caritas Czech Republic’s project manager presented the statistics of the center’s two-year work and said that since its establishment in November 2019, more than 7 000 locals have benefited from the medical services at the Zugdidi Screening Center. Kurtanidze also noted that except for state screening programs, the center has offered therapeutic, gynecological, endocrinological, and other types of examinations and tests to the population of the region.
Importance of Zugdidi Screening Center for West Georgia
Thanks to the financial support from Czech Development Agency (CzechAid), Caritas Czech Republic has been conducting information campaigns on cancer prevention and early detection in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region since 2010. Initially, our organization provided medical examinations in the villages through a mobile clinic. However, for further medical services, locals had to travel to Tbilisi.
In 2019, with the financial support from CzechAid, Caritas Czech Republic built and equipped Zugdidi Screening Center that enables the population of West Georgia to receive state screening services and other kinds of therapeutic examinations on the spot.
“With the financial support from the Czech Development Agency, Caritas Czech Republic started its intervention in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region to support access to the national screening programs for more than ten years ago. I am glad that we have been with the people of the region all that time. Without those interventions, the awareness about the importance of screening of oncology diseases would be very low in the region”, notes Jan Blinka, Head of Mission, Caritas Czech Republic.
Through National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), Zugdidi Screening Center provides equal geographic as well as financial accessibility to national cancer screening programs (breast, cervical, colorectal cancer screening and prostate cancer program) in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region as well as for the population in Abkhazia given the proximity of the administrative boundary line. The center is staffed with highly qualified medical personnel, whose continuous education and professional development are constantly taken care of by both Caritas Czech Republic and the center's management.