Georgia in focus of United Nations Population Fund

Abortion rate reduced and the women's health improved thanked to the right policy of the Government, UNFPA said. Photo by N. Alavidze /, 20 Apr 2015 - 18:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

A 157-page report thoroughly detailing Georgia’s population trends has been released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the Government of Georgia.

The Population Situation Analysis Georgia 2014 (PSA) report revealed many interesting things about the country’s demographics, but put particular emphasis on the fact Georgia had one of the highest birth rates in Europe, the country’s abortion rates were dropping and breast cancer continued to be a major killer of women in Georgia.

The report, conducted by a team of local and international experts during the second part of 2014, offered a comprehensive appraisal of the population and reproductive health dynamics and their linkages and impacts on poverty, inequality and development.

The Fund stated the Georgian Government considered demographic policy development as one of the priorities of the country. Progress had been made however several recommendations were offered to help the Georgian side improve the demographic situation in the country.

One detail of the report noted Georgia had one of the highest birth rates in Europe, with a score of -2.0, and thanks to "the right policy, family planning with state support and investments” Georgia had experienced a reduced abortion rate and an improvement in women’s health. Family was also heavily cherished and an important part of the mentality.

Georgia’s birth rate was higher than in previous years, and this could be partly due to the strong religious influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church on society, and the introduction of the Patriarch’s blessing of children born into multi-child families. Despite this, more could be done to stimulate more births in the country, noted the report.

To overcome current challenges and stimulate birth rates in Georgia the authors of the research recommended the state to implement a social policy. According to the recommendations the Government should include the reproductive health in its strategy and does not interrupt the financial assistance for the family planning services.

Furthermore, mortality rates and cancer incidences were substantially lower in Georgia than other countries in the European region, but this was mainly due to the collapse of surveillance and reporting systems.

With the decentralisation of cancer diagnostic and treatment services that are no longer based at cancer dispensaries, Georgia’s data was often under-reported by medical providers, noted the report. In response to this, the National Centre of Disease Control and Public Health initiated a population-based cancer registry. In 2014, the registry passed a pilot stage and in January 2015 a full-scale implementation process started.

On another note, breast cancer continued to be a major killer of women of reproductive age in Georgia according to the national cancer statistics data, constituting 37.1 percent of all cancer cases among women. Conversely, the number of cases of cervical cancer has shown a decreasing trend since 2001.

Once of the biggest problems of cancer interventions in Georgia continued to be late diagnosis. More than 39 percent of breast cancer cases and 47 percent of cervical cancer cases in 2013 were diagnosed at the later stage of the disease.

Furthermore, statistics revealed 15-20 percent of women suffering from breast cancer and 22-30 percent of women with cervical cancer die within the first year of the diagnosis, although a downwards trend has been observed in recent years and considerably lower figures of first-year deaths were reported in 2012.

The survey was initiated by the Administration of the Government of Georgia and UNFPA at a time when Georgia had made significant progress in achieving International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in several areas but still needed to consolidate the achievements.