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1.  The role of supportive supervision on immunization program outcome - a randomized field trial from Georgia 
Background
One of the most common barriers to improving immunization coverage rates is human resources and its management. In the Republic of Georgia, a country where widespread health care reforms have taken place over the last decade, an intervention was recently implemented to strengthen performance of immunization programs. A range of measures were taken to ensure that immunization managers carry out their activities effectively through direct, personal contact on a regular basis to guide, support and assist designated health care facility staff to become more competent in their immunization work. The aim of this study was to document the effects of "supportive" supervision on the performance of the immunization program at the district(s) level in Georgia.
Methods
A pre-post experimental research design is used for the quantitative evaluation. Data come from baseline and follow-up surveys of health care providers and immunization managers in 15 intervention and 15 control districts. These data were supplemented by focus group discussions amongst Centre of Public Health and health facility staff.
Results
The results of the study suggest that the intervention package resulted in a number of expected improvements. Among immunization managers, the intervention independently contributed to improved knowledge of supportive supervision, and helped remove self-perceived barriers to supportive supervision such as availability of resources to supervisors, lack of a clear format for providing supportive supervision, and lack of recognition among providers of the importance of supportive supervision. The intervention independently contributed to relative improvements in district-level service delivery outcomes such as vaccine wastage factors and the DPT-3 immunization coverage rate. The clear positive improvement in all service delivery outcomes across both the intervention and control districts can be attributed to an overall improvement in the Georgian population's access to health care.
Conclusion
Provider-based interventions such as supportive supervision can have independent positive effects on immunization program indicators. Thus, it is recommended to implement supportive supervision within the framework of national immunization programs in Georgia and other countries in transition with similar institutional arrangements for health services organization.
Abstract in Russian
See the full article online for a translation of this abstract in Russian.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-9-S1-S11
PMCID: PMC3226230  PMID: 19828055
2.  Human resources for health challenges of public health system reform in Georgia 
Background
Human resources (HR) are one of the most important components determining performance of public health system. The aim of this study was to assess adequacy of HR of local public health agencies to meet the needs emerging from health care reforms in Georgia.
Methods
We used the Human Resources for Health Action Framework, which includes six components: HR management, policy, finance, education, partnerships and leadership. The study employed: (a) quantitative methods: from September to November 2004, 30 randomly selected district Centers of Public Health (CPH) were surveyed through face-to-face interviews with the CPH director and one public health worker randomly selected from all professional staff; and (b) qualitative methods: in November 2004, Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were held among 3 groups: a) 12 district public health professionals, b) 11 directors of district public health centers, and c) 10 policy makers at central level.
Results
There was an unequal distribution of public health workers across selected institutions, with lack of professionals in remote rural district centers and overstaffing in urban centers. Survey respondents disagreed or were uncertain that public health workers possess adequate skills and knowledge necessary for delivery of public health programs. FGDs shed additional light on the survey findings that there is no clear vision and plans on HR development. Limited budget, poor planning, and ignorance from the local government were mentioned as main reasons for inadequate staffing. FGD participants were concerned with lack of good training institutions and training programs, lack of adequate legislation for HR issues, and lack of necessary resources for HR development from the government.
Conclusion
After ten years of public health system reforms in Georgia, the public health workforce still has major problems such as irrational distribution and inadequate knowledge and skills. There is an urgent need for re-training and training programs and development of conducive policy environment with sufficient resources to address these problems and assure adequate functionality of public health programs.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-6-8
PMCID: PMC2429907  PMID: 18505585
3.  Influence of household demographic and socio-economic factors on household expenditure on tobacco in six New Independent States 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:222.
Background
To identify demographic and socio-economic factors that are associated with household expenditure on tobacco in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, and Tajikistan.
Methods
Secondary analysis of the data available through the World Bank Living Standards Monitoring Survey conducted in aforementioned countries in 1995–2000. The role of different variables (e.g. mean age of household members, household area of residence, household size, share of adult males, share of members with high education) in determining household expenditure on tobacco (defined as tobacco expenditure share out of total monthly HH consumption) was assessed by using multiple regression analysis.
Results
Significant differences were found between mean expenditure on tobacco between rich and poor – in absolute terms the rich spend significantly more compared with the poor. Poor households devote significantly higher shares of their monthly HH consumption for tobacco products. Shares of adult males were significantly associated with the share of household consumption devoted for tobacco. There was a significant negative association between shares of persons with tertiary education within the HH and shares of monthly household consumption devoted for tobacco products. The correlation between household expenditures on tobacco and alcohol was found to be positive, rather weak, but statistically significant.
Conclusion
Given the high levels of poverty and high rates of smoking in the New Independent States, these findings have important policy implications. They indicate that the impact and opportunity costs of smoking on household finances are more significant for the poor than for the rich. Any reductions in smoking prevalence within poor households could have a positive economic impact.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-222
PMCID: PMC2031901  PMID: 17760965

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