Willingness of the primary health care facilities to provide quality services to people with tuberculosis is the key to successful implementation of the people-centered TB care.
Combining the mechanisms to monitor service quality and to reward clinics for their performance is a good incentive for the physicians to be responsive to the patients’ needs and to provide quality outpatient care to people with TB. This is the approach that was introduced by the TB-REP implementing partner in Georgia – Georgia Family Medicine Association – by initiating the Best TB Outpatient Site Award. It was organized in collaboration with the Georgia Patients Union (GPU) and the Georgia TB Coalition. Organizers determined eight best performing outpatient sites offering people-centered TB care.
The selection criteria included cooperation between the TB care and primary health care professionals; doctors and nurses having strong interpersonal communication and counselling skills; collaboration with the patients and coordination of all actions in the course of treatment; access to online resources on TB care and cooperation with the civil society organizations, which ensure patients’ adherence to treatment through peer support. The following best performing sites were selected in Tbilisi, Batumi (Adjara), Zugdidi (Samegrelo), Blonisi and Gardabani (Kvemo Kartli):
1. National Center for TB and Lung Diseases in Tbilisi, DOT site #1
2. National Center for TB and Lung Diseases in Tbilisi, DOT site #2
3. TB Outpatient Clinic #5, Tbilisi
4. Bolnisi TB Unit (IC group private provider network)
5. Gardabani TB Unit (Geohospitals private provider network)
6. Zugdidi TB hospital outpatient department
7. Batumi infectious diseases, AIDS and TB clinic outpatient department
8. Primary Care Clinic (Baratashvili Street, Tbilisi)
Georgia Family Medicine Association, Georgia Patients Union and Georgia TB Coalition expressed their recognition for the excellent performance of these sites and presented their representatives with award plates at the high-level meeting held in Tbilisi in late February.
“With this award we want to express our gratitude for your dedication and support to people with TB. We believe that many clinics involved in the National TB Program do an excellent job but today we selected these eight. This is because people with TB getting treatment at these clinics think they are the best. Physicians and nurses at these sites are most responsive to patients’ needs and do all possible to provide good care. GPU and Georgia TB Coalition will continue working with TB clinics to help them better understand patients’ expectations and perspectives and make their services more patient friendly”, said Nikoloz Mirzashvili, one of the GPU leaders.
It should be noted that the award to the best performing outpatient sites not only helps to recognize good performance of the medical staff, but also is an effective mechanism in monitoring of the TB care quality from the patients’ perspective.