After the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the Government of Georgia (GoG) announced a state of emergency with series of measures to deal with global pandemic. One of the essential and immediate interventions introduced by GoG has been a remote patient care provided by family doctors, who – however – needed to be first trained in this new method. This was job for Caritas Czech Republic team, which reacted swiftly on occurred needs and during several weeks trained and supervised nearly 1000 doctors in the country.
“From the start it became obvious that primary healthcare sector should have been involved in the management of COVID cases as only hospital sector would not handle the increasing flow of COVID infected patients. However, it should have been done remotely without a direct contact with patients in order to minimize the spread of infection across the communities,” explained Rusudan Chkhubianishvili, projects manager of Caritas Czech Republic.
The content of the training was based on the national standard of clinical conditions management, which was prepared by the Primary Health Care Professional Associations and approved by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia (MoILHSA) in order to identify and manage COVID-19 suspicious cases by family doctors.
Subsequently, at the initiative of the MoILHSA, online trainings have been planned for family doctors of primary health care facilities in the cities, as well as for rural doctors working in the regions, so that all doctors in the country have complete and up-to-date information on remote management of COVID-19 cases.
Trained by top primary healthcare experts
In April, Caritas Czech Republic conducted 65 online trainings for almost all rural doctors in the country. In addition, trainings were conducted for family doctors of Gali district, as well as for representatives of ethnic minorities in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. In total, 980 doctors learnt about how to manage suspicious cases of any kind of fever, conduct telephone consultations with patients, carry on the preventive work during COVID outbreak and about how to deal with common chronic diseases.
“In the training process, we focused not only on the theoretical discussion of the protocol, but also on the issue of its implementation in practice. Rural doctors were particularly interested in participating in the discussion. We also explored interesting clinical cases and implementation of preventive measures for the transmission of the infection in ambulatories,” said Ketevan Jugheli, a trainer in the Imereti region and a primary health care expert, emphasizing that the participation of the doctors was very active.
„Caritas Czech Republic provided us with an unique opportunity to learn about the management of COVID-19 within primary care in accordance with the state protocol. We got a chance of continuous and direct communication with top primary healthcare experts, provided with an opportunity of professional development and obtained decision-making skills in health emergency situations,” said Tea Sakhokia, a family doctor of Nosiri 2 of Senaki municipality, Samegrelo region.
During following four weeks after the training, Caritas Czech Republic continued to provide weekly online consultations to rural doctors, which were as successful as the trainings.
CCR´s response to Covid-19
Support to the Georgian government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic during April-May 2020, has become one of the main activities of Caritas Czech Republic. With the financial support of the Czech Development Agency and European Union within its ENPARD programme, Caritas Czech Republic not only conducted online trainings for rural doctors in all regions of Georgia, but also implemented other COVID-19 related measures: delivered essential medical equipment and supplies, thousands of COVID-19 awareness flyers printed and distributed in the regions of Georgia. Caritas Czech Republic has aided the Georgian authorities, physicians and general population in their battle against COVID-19. You can read more about CCR’s Covid-19 response in this article: