According to the World Health Organization, each year, an estimated 40 million people are in need of palliative care, and only about 14% of these people currently receive it.24
Palliative care is a fundamental human right, as well as an integral part of human dignity and health. Its purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients living with severe pains, regardless of diagnosis and remaining life expectancy.
Palliative care was first introduced in Georgia in 1999, with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF). “Due to intensive work and advocacy, we now have basic norms in legislation, we have created hospices for children and adults, and trained employees who got education in this sphere at the world’s leading institutions and hospices,” says Nino Kiknadze, coordinator of OSGF public health program, who has been leading the palliative care direction since 2008.
“Firefly World”, the first children’s hospice in Georgia, meets all standards of best European hospices by its infrastructure, service quality and attitude towards patients.
However, Georgian legislation failed to regulate important norms and was not familiar with the main definitions in the field of palliative care.
In 2018, a working group was set up upon the initiative of Open Society Georgia Foundation, involving experts in palliative care, representatives of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, as well as the Parliament of Georgia. The members of the working group developed a package of amendments to the Law on the Rights of Patients and the Law on Health Care.
The Parliament of Georgia endorsed the legislative amendments in its proposed wording on February 25. Now, the Georgian legislation involves definitions of palliative and hospice care, children’s palliative care and authorities of service suppliers.
The legislative amendments will enter into force from June 1, 2019.