CORONA – Current situation in Georgia (as of June 28, 2020)
The Georgian government has declared a state of emergency in Georgia in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible.
Nationwide quarantine regulations have been in effect since March 30th and have been relaxed since June 23rd, 2020, and international air traffic is to start gradually again from July 1st.
Current information about Corona in Georgia can be found on a special website of the government and the Georgian embassy in Germany as well as the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
According to historyaah, Georgia insight provides regular information about the consequences for the travel industry.
Health and social services – in general:
The World Health Organization of the UN (WHO) shows in the study “Health System Performance Assessment” from 2009 the condition and development potential of the health system in Georgia. The German Economic Association of Georgia summarized the study on health care in June 2010 as follows:
- Public spending on the health sector must continue to grow.
- There is a particular need for investment in the areas of primary health care, public health and health promotion. There is also room for improvement in the quality control of drugs, which has been drastically reduced by market reforms and the decline in regulatory instruments.
- The primary care staff education plan is well on its way, with half of all doctors and nurses in this area receiving or further training.
- The aim is to eliminate regional differences.
- The new, privatized hospitals should be carefully monitored to ensure that the new competitive situation and increased cost pressures do not come at the expense of the patients.
- In the future it must also be ensured that more parts of the population receive health insurance. A large part (751,000) of the poor population already has free basic care, but only 25% of the entire population has insurance at all and only 7.6% has private insurance.
- The WHO recommends state-subsidized private health insurance.
- The aim is to ensure that more people are financially able to afford prescription drugs, tests and hospitalization. (One in four Georgians cannot afford prescribed laboratory tests and one in ten cannot purchase prescribed medication or visit a hospital due to a lack of funds).
In order to counter the high smoking rate and drug use, the WHO recommends more state-funded prevention programs on the way. The drug problem is particularly relevant for the Caucasus. However, neither Georgia nor Azerbaijan has so far available comprehensive studies on the size and patterns of the drug problem. At the end of 2004, 24,000 drug users were registered in the database of the Georgian Research Institute on Addiction (GRIA), 14,400 of whom were drug addicts who were injecting drugs. The Institute estimates that the actual number of intravenous drug addicts in Georgia is around 80,000 out of a population of 5 million. (see workshop on local drug policy, Eschborn 2006). Other data speak of 6% of the Georgian population as being addicted to drugs. At the beginning of 2017, the draconian anti-drug law, which also made the consumption of marijuana a criminal offense, was toned down.
Young people are particularly affected. The group of 18 to 26 year olds in Georgia comprises around 700,000 young people. The main problems faced by this age group are:
- the difficult social and economic situation,
- insufficient access to youth-friendly services,
- limited access to information about study and employment opportunities at home and abroad,
- inadequate extracurricular training opportunities,
- difficult integration of refugees, street children and orphans,
- Implementation of youth work in mountain regions.
Unemployment and underemployment mean that there is often a lack of childcare facilities. Some parents feel compelled to send their children to beg. Single-parent households with orphans and disabled people are often faced with so-called “voluntarily chosen” poverty. In addition, one can also talk about “combated” or “temporary” poverty at times. Most of the refugee children, who have not known much else in their short life than violence, displacement and poverty, belong to street gangs or are terrorized by them. (see report of the National Youth Council of Georgia on the situation of youth in Georgia)
Education about sexually transmitted diseases (HIV, approx. 10,000 infected people) must also be improved in order to reduce the number of new infections with sexually transmitted diseases. Research has shown that awareness of contraception is high in Georgia, but there is a large discrepancy between awareness and use of these options.
Similar to the programs against drug use, the cancer screening programs also need to be expanded. Although the city of Tbilisi and international partners are funding a prevention program and campaigns aimed at raising awareness about cancer, this only applies in Tbilisi. A national program needs to be set up for the future.
The situation of many senior citizens in Georgia is precarious. They only receive a monthly flat pension of 100 Lari, around 45 euros. This amount is hardly enough to ensure their daily survival. In addition, many older people are left to fend for themselves, as their children often live in other cities. Overall, around 60 percent of all pensioners in Georgia are in need of social assistance.
According to official figures (WHO) there are more than 130,000 people with disabilities in Georgia. Of these, 10%, i.e. around 13,000 people, have musculoskeletal restrictions and need orthopedic aids. In addition to war injuries and mine accidents, there are diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis and vascular diseases, a lack of preventive measures as well as accidents and hereditary defects are the main causes of physical disabilities. People with disabilities are among the poorest population groups in Georgia and have very limited access to education, training, work, health and social services. In addition, social participation and the involvement of disabled people in social networks are extremely low. Rather, they mostly live in isolation and are dependent on family members and caregivers.