World Hepatitis Day Marked in Georgia On July 28th

6 Sep, 2011

Know! Change! Protect – this was the slogan for the World Hepatitis Day marked on July 28 in Georgia. “Georgian Harm Reduction Network” and Coalition – “Human Rights in Healthcare” with the support of “Open Society Georgia Foundation” and “Doctors of the World” (France) joined the WHO’s call to renew commitment against a largely silent but persistent epidemic.

The day was marked to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and facilitating public dialogue on formation of state policy.

Activities under the campaign were organized in 4 Georgian cities: Batumi, Zugdidi, Gori and Tbilisi. The day started with press conferences that were followed by round table meetings.

At the Round Table Meeting held in Tbilisi, presentations were delivered by Mr. Andria Urushadze – The Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Ms. Natalia Avaliani – Director of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Ms. Lali Sharvadze MD – AIDS and Clinical Immunology Research Center, Mrs. Irma Khabazi – Open Society Georgia Foundation, and Mr. Konstantine Labartkava and Mr. Konstantine Rukhadze representing – “New Vector”. Presenters reviewed the epidemiological situation of Hepatitis C, practices of diagnostic and access to treatment.

At the event the video human stories touching the problems of people infected with Hepatitis C virus were also presented. The organizers of the meeting introduced a petition that was signed by the roundtable participants and that will later be presented to the President of Georgia, the Parliament of Georgia, Minister of Health, Labor and Social Affairs and the Ombudsman. Signatures have been collected electronically through the social network- Facebook as well. Soon after launching petition on the Facebook 7000 people joined the call.

In addition to formal meetings, street campaigns were also held, information materials were disseminated among citizens and signatures for the petition were collected. Moving walls were painted and hundreds of colorful balloons were raised in the sky.

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