April 29, 2014 – Washington, DC – Disability Rights International (DRI) applauds the Georgian government for accepting DRI’s recommendation and adopting guidelines which guarantee immediate life-saving surgeries for children with hydrocephalus.
Karen Green McGowan, President Elect of the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association and DRI volunteer, examines a young girl with hydrocephalus at the Tbilisi Infant’s House
On announcing the adoption of these guidelines last week, the Georgian government credited DRI’s 2013 report, Left Behind, for bringing attention to this issue. When left untreated, hydrocephalus leads to intellectual disability and eventually death; DRI investigators documented a death rate of more than 50% of children with hydrocephalus over a 4-year period in a single Georgian orphanage. The new guidelines will effectively eliminate deaths from this medical condition and save thousands of lives for generations to come.  DRI wishes to thank the Georgian activists who have worked tirelessly to promote the right to health for children with disabilities in Georgia, particularly Children of Georgia, EveryChild of Georgia, the Partnership for Human Rights and the Georgia Public Defender’s Office. We thank the Georgia Ministry of Health for being receptive to DRI’s recommendations and for taking immediate action to save lives.
Dr. Larry Kaplan, a DRI volunteer, examines a young boy at the former Batumi institution
None of DRI’s work is possible without the assistance of our expert volunteers. Dr. Larry Kaplan and Karen Green McGowan provided invaluable on-the-ground medical expertise and helped identify problems and long-term solutions. Much work lies ahead in Georgiaand around the world– to protect the human rights of children and adults with disabilities. But for now, we hope you will join us in celebrating a success that will mean the whole world to thousands of children in Georgia.
The invaluable support of DRI’s International Ambassador Holly Valance and husband Nick Candy, pictured above in the Tbilisi Infant’s Home, contributed greatly to this success