OCHA-Georgia Information Bulletin for the Period 1-15 March 2003

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 15 Mar 2003
Feature
EveryChild UK in Georgia

EveryChild UK in Georgia works in partnership with other NGOs and government agencies to design and implement programmes that enable children to grow up in a family. The organisation focuses on children in public care and children at risk of entering institutional care.

Georgia has inherited a childcare system based around state-run children's institutions. There are currently around 4,000-5,000 children inside these institutions. The system is quite expensive for the Georgian authorities and also harmful for children. It is universally acknowledged that family-based care is the best option for children who are either orphaned or unable to live with their own families. This is true even when institutions are well funded and maintained, which unfortunately is not always case in Georgia.

De-institutionalisation of children in Georgia or ensuring that children are not deprived of parental care started in 1999, when EveryChild was invited by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Georgia and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to help reform children's services by establishing a range of services for children in institutional care or were at-risk of entering institutional care. Social work teams were set up in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Telavi, Kutaisi and Batumi. Social work and childcare training was provided by international social work specialists from EveryChild.

Currently EveryChild implements several projects such as de-institutionalisation of infants, prevention of abandonment, and family support and foster care. EveryChild works with local and international NGOs and Georgian ministries to identify, train and recruit families willing and able to foster or adopt babies and infants who have been abandoned and currently are in children's institutions. A significant part of this work concentrates on preventing mothers from abandoning their babies by offering support services in the latter stages of pregnancy and raising awareness about alternatives to institutional care. In addition, the organisation advocates on behalf of vulnerable families and children in Georgia.

The Georgian Government is committed to finding an alternative solution to the widespread use of children's institutions. In late 1998, EveryChild launched a pilot project to demonstrate family-based alternatives to institutional children care. The first stage focused on Tbilisi, Rustavi and Telavi. In October 2001, three trained social work teams and systems were taken over by the MoE. The second phase of the project is now ongoing and has been replicated in western Georgia, Kutaisi and Batumi.

Family support and foster care for children with special needs addresses some of the problems of families who have children with disabilities. Often these families place children in institutions due to the stigma that Georgian society still attaches to disabilities. Institutionalisation increases poverty and social problems, and institutional personnel often lack the skills to care for such children properly. The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of transferring institutionalised children with mental and/or physical disabilities currently back into the community through reintegration with birth families or fostering.

For more information, please contact Ms. Manana Turmanidze, Country Director, tel.: 22 43 07, e-mail: mturman@gol.ge

MERLIN SUPPORTS THE NATIONAL TUBERCULOSIS PROGRAMME IN GEORGIA

Following Georgian independence in 1991, a long period of civil unrest and the subsequent collapse of the country's economy, the health infrastructure was all but destroyed. Presently, at least 35% of the population lives below a subsistence level.

Tuberculosis (TB) thrives in such conditions, but it is curable if diagnosed early and treated appropriately with DOT (Directly Observed Treatment) according to World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols. Treated in any other way without proper medical supervision can lead to the development of drug resistant strains of TB which are less likely, more complicated and very expensive to cure. The diagnosis and treatment of non-resistant TB is free in Georgia, so it is every citizen's responsibility to ensure that they receive the correct treatment before they develop and spread a more complicated form.

In 2001, MERLIN was invited by the Georgian National TB Programme (NTP) to help pilot the integration of quality controlled TB diagnosis and management in a setting of primary and secondary health care structures in Shida Kartli Region. With funding secured in 2002 from Jersey Overseas Aid and with strong support from the NTP, general health and civil authorities, ICRC, GTZ and Counterpart:

  • The TB dispensary and laboratory have been relocated and refurbished in the Regional Hospital in Gori to cope with the diagnostic and monitoring needs of the population in the region.

  • The laboratory has been equipped to basic, efficient diagnostic standards based on microscopy for the approximately 300 newly diagnosed cases per year.

  • The TB cabinets in Khashuri, Kaspi and Kareli, all situated in the grounds of the general healthcare facilities, have undergone light refurbishment and been supplied with laboratory equipment and consumables

  • Core staff of the National Tuberculosis Programme, in both Tbilisi and Shida Kartli, have undergone a training of trainers course.

  • Laboratory staff from Shida Kartli are currently undergoing training on TB diagnostic techniques according to WHO protocols.
Further funding from Jersey Overseas Aid has been received to continue for another three year period. Activities will include:
  • The equipment and furnishing of a limited number of TB acute-admission wards, situated next to the new dispensary.

  • The development and dissemination of health education material targeting the general public, healthcare staff and patients.

  • Training brigades made up of village health staff to improve access to patients who are unable to travel to the urban centres for diagnosis and treatment.

  • The development of simple, cheap, sustainable support mechanisms for patients attending daily clinics.

  • The monitoring of case management data and the support of quality control practices.

  • Undertaking anonymous, informed consent HIV surveys among TB patients.
World TB Day is on 24th March so look out for those TB health education messages.

For more information please contact Annabel Baddeley at Annabel@merlin.org.uk.

MERLIN is a UK-based charity, providing healthcare for people in crises and disaster situations around the world. The organisation specialises in reaching the poorest countries, the most difficult environments and in complex emergencies, supporting vulnerable people where the local infrastructure has broken down.

Sectors

Assistance to the Vulnerable

In early of March 2003, the "SOCO" foundation has distributed 1,153 school textbooks, 9 maps, 6 globes, 10 footballs and basketballs and 440 toothbrushes to 440 school children in three schools in Ozurgeti district, Guria (Silauri, Dzimiti, Tsianeti). The effort was funded by a Dutch sponsor.

Local NGO Spotlight

Ordu is a Zugdidi-based NGO. Its first project, "Free Internet Centre for IDPs", was funded by the United States Embassy in Georgia. Almost a year ago ORDU launched surveys on the social conditions of 32 IDP communities in Zugdidi and its outskirts including Anaklia, Orsantia, Kakhati, Ingiri, Abastumani, Rukhi, Koki, Orulu, Zedaetseri, Ergeta and others. Ordu especially targets IDP families with children, the elderly and the disabled. A research center was established within the organisation to work on data collection and processing. Surveys cover nutrition, social activity and employment issues. Results are computerised and updated on a monthly basis. Ordu representatives living in communities are responsible for the data collection.

Currently the following data on IDPs in Zugdidi region is available for interested organisations:

1. Availability and utilisation of land resources

2. Area (acreage) of the fertile land

3. Number of farms and their efficiency

4. Status of livestock breeding and its development

5. Analysis of the overall economic situation and efforts to find a way out of the crisis Availability of economic resources.

6. Economic statistics

7. Population's overall monthly income

8. Calculation per districts of the amount of the locally available food products and self-consumed food products

9. Analysis of technical services and market

The above information is computerised. A database has been created, as well as a list identifying 27,000 people and a number of households on the verge of poverty.

For more information, please contact Mr. Merab Gamsakhurdia at: merabi_gamsakhurdia@online.com.ua

Produced by OCHA Georgia

For more information, please contact Ms. Maka Esaiashvili, Information Officer
Tel/Fax: 995-32-959516; Tel: 995-32-943163; e-mail: unocha@unocha.org.ge

Contributions are welcome and should reach OCHA, 9 Eristavi St., Tbilisi by 12.00 hrs. on 9th 19th, and 29th of each month

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.