The WHO Collaborating Center in Georgia
07 October, 2010
The WHO Collaborating  Center in Georgia

The WHO (World Health Organization) Collaborating Center in Georgia, which is based in Tbilisi at the Zhordania Institute of Human Reproduction, is the only place of the kind in the entire Caucasus. The Center was founded in 1988

. Our correspondent had a lengthy meeting with its director Professor Archil Khomasuridze who is also the general director of the Zhordania Institute itself. The professor told us that the center is playing a considerable role in

the improvement of reproductive health in the Region. It’s concerned about the reproductive health medical issues and also promotes the scientific research activities under the aegis of the WHO.

GJ – What is the result of   the 20-year activity of the Center in Georgia?
A. Kh. – Georgia which a while ago was a backward country in terms of reproductive health management has become a leading nation not only in the Caucasus but in the entire East European region. 
GJ – What does this mean more specifically?
A. Kh. – For instance, in 2008 the number of officially registered abortions here have gone down from 100 thousand to 30 thousand. The prevalence of modern-method contraception jumped from zero to 55 % in Georgia and 65 % in its capital city of Tbilisi. Our Center has done a great educational and promotional job. This is the biggest progress in the history of contraceptive methodology in the world. Certainly, without the help of the WHO this could not have been possible. 
GJ – How about the situation in other countries of the region, like Azerbaijan and Armenia?
A. Kh. – The number of abortions has decreased in those countries too. The assistance of the Zhordania Institute Collaborating Center is obvious here too. We cooperate with our neighboring nations intensively and on permanent basis. For example, I am planning to lecture and do master classes on the subject in the next two weeks both in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
GJ – How long is the term of office for the director of the WHO Collaborating Center? Is there any deadline for the designation?
A. Kh. – Four years for each designation, and then, the re-designation should occur accordingly.
GJ – Have you already been re-designated?
A. Kh. – I have been chosen for the post five times in the row which I think is a very solid term of office. Right now my candidacy is in suspension waiting for the sixth time re-designation. The discussions were held on the 5th of October in the United Nations House via video conferencing among Geneva, Copenhagen and Tbilisi.
GJ – So what is the result? What is your impression? What do think might happen?
A. Kh. – I think that the discussion which had taken place was quite constructive and healthy. And I have no reason to doubt that another re-designation should take place.
GJ – What are the prospects of the future collaboration with the WHO?
A. Kh. – The prospects are very bright, I should say. We have far-going plans. Suffice it to say that for the first time in history, we managed to have the Reproductive Health recognized as an independent medical discipline. This happened in the year of 1997. Reproductive Health is no longer considered part of Obstetrics or Gynecology. It stands completely apart.
GJ – Would this mean that the Reproductive Health is as independent a subject today as for example are the Pediatrics, Therapy and Surgery?
A. Kh. – Yes, absolutely?
GJ – How about the text book – is there a special manual on the subject used by the students?
A. Kh. – No, there is not, but it is absolutely necessary to have it. This is a very topical issue, by the way. Frankly speaking, I have been working on it for quite a while, but it has not yet arrived, so to speak. 
GJ – How about other nations? Are they as intensely concerned about Reproductive Health as this country?
A. Kh. – Incidentally, Georgia was followed by England and Russia, and part of the United States in the recognition of the Reproductive Health as an independent discipline. Believe it or not, we are the pioneers in this.
GJ – Why is this big deal after all?
A. Kh. – Because the Reproductive Health being part of Obstetrics and Gynecology is a sheer nonsense. 
GJ – And why is that?
A. Kh. – Because the Reproductive Health is taking care of not only women but men too (Andrology). So how could it possibly be part of Obstetrics and Gynecology? As a matter of fact, Obstetrics and Gynecology could easily be part of the Reproductive Health – never the contrary! 
GJ – Indeed! It has now become quite clear why the existence and the productive activity of the WHO collaborating Center is so natural and useful in Georgia. Thank you very much and good luck in this universally recognized activity!
A. Kh. – You are welcome! And come back – we might have myriad other things to discuss publicly.
GJ – Thanks a lot! I will certainly consider the opportunity.

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