August 22,2014

New PPRTC Research Recommends Increased Efforts to Combat Rising Cancer Deaths

According to a new Policy Report examining causes of death in Georgia by the Ilia State University (ISU) MPA Program’s Public Policy Research and Training Center (PPRTC), cancer is a growing public health issue in the country. On June 17, 2014, the PPRTC presented the report to approximately 30 government officials, healthcare experts, international donors, and graduate students, and called for increased government attention to the growing cancer epidemic.

The author of the paper, Dr. Nikoloz Maghlaperidze of ISU, used decomposition methods of demographic statistics to determine that since the fall of the Soviet Union, life expectancy in Georgia has plateaued. In contrast, many developed countries have seen continually increasing life expectancy over the same period. To determine the recent trends and causes underlying this stagnation, the study analyzed causes of death between 2007 and 2012, disaggregated by gender and age group. While numbers varied among specific groups, overall many causes of death declined in frequency, such as cardiovascular and infectious diseases. However, overall life expectancy did not change much due to a sharp rise in cancer deaths.

The report recommends that the government improve and increase cancer screening, diagnosis, and prevention approaches, including through improved oncological education for medical professionals and policies that promote reduced public exposure to cancer risk factors.

The report was well-received by participants at the presentation, which included representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Georgian National Center for Disease Control, and USAID’s Office of Health and Human Development.