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Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA

THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA REDUCING MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY When the representative of UNICEF Georgia called Sheba International and asked for assistance we did not realize that this was the start of five years of close cooperation, that would give us a great deal of pride and satisfaction! “We think we have excessively high infant mortalities during labor” was the initial reason for that call, but after months of investigation, interviews and field work we had a much clearer picture of the maternity services in the Republic of Georgia — both mothers and newborn infants were dying in the delivery rooms. Sheba Medical Center’s team of obstetricians, pediatricians, neonatologists and health care managers conducted an indepth assessment of maternal and newborn infant care in Georgia. Members of the Sheba team undertook numerous visits to Georgia and were extremely impressed not only by the wonderful warm and friendly hospitality received, but especially by the openness, transparency and desire of government officials and medical personnel alike to improve perinatal care in Georgia. Sheba International’s approach to this challenging task included the setting up of duplicate teams, a Sheba team and a Georgian team, working together shoulder to shoulder. The teams toured and assessed maternity units throughout Georgia, especially regarding the geographical location, physical conditions, equipment and clinical capacity. All of the information collected was analyzed in the context of the needs across the country, taking into consideration the cultural, economic and geographical constraints of Georgia as well as planning for future maternity needs. Following the research phase, which required more than a year of intensive work, the SMC team prepared a final comprehensive report. These recommendations, a “Master Plan” for action, were completed and presented to the Ministry of Labor Social affairs and Health and to UNICEF. The Master Plan comprised a detailed action plan based on the clinical principles of standardization, clinical experience and capacity, registration and continuing medical education. The challenging implementation phase of this Master Plan followed immediately and is still ongoing. 174 For the SMC team ... If we have helped to save only one baby’s life or if the tragic death of one mother is prevented then our mission has been worthwhile.

IMPROVING MATERNITY CARE IN CHINA Almost 3 years of studying, learning and adjusting to the Chinese culture and working environment were barely enough for Sheba’s International experts. The very marked and deep differences in Western and Chinese approaches to medical care were the main reasons for the lengthy preparation time required by Sheba International before deciding to enter the Chinese health market. We encountered extremely ambitious, intelligent and highly motivated partners who were willing to put in the hard work required. Colleagues became friends and within a short time the Sheba and Chinese medical and administrative teams developed a mutual respect and warm and close relationships. This health project has enriched all of those fortunate enough to participate and Sheba International looks forward to our future collaborations in China. This time was well spent so when a new and challenging project was presented Sheba International was fully prepared. Joining an international company, the LR Group, the Sheba Medical Center undertook to establish an upgraded and modern maternity and delivery service in a new hospital that had recently been opened. The request was to promote a comprehensive implementation of Western standards of maternity care, to overcome educational and training limitations and to enhance the competitive economic advantage of the hospital. Step by step, we introduced Western clinical guidelines and administrative protocols which were adapted to the Chinese healthcare environment, implementing concepts of measurement, observation and clearly defined clinical goals. These changes entailed upgrading the clinical care, applying a patient centered approach to case management and the establishment of new medical services, non-existent before our collaboration. © The Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer 175