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Georgia Healthcare

Healthcare in Georgia does not meet Western standards. Medical degrees are routinely purchased. Doctors and nurses sometimes have no training, clinics are dangerous and ill-equipped. There are two surgeons who are Western-trained and competent and one sterile facility in which to do operations. A local neurosurgery hospital can stabilise adult major trauma as can a selected pediatric facility.

Since 1995 there have been wide-ranging reforms to the centralised system of healthcare inherited from the former Soviet Union. Staffed by a disproportionate number of specialists, and supporting a relatively high number of hospital beds, the system proved too costly and inefficient to maintain. In the period immediately following independence, financial shortages led to delayed payment, or even non-payment, of medical staff salaries; a virtual halt to investment in new medical equipment and buildings; and the emergence of a black market in pharmaceuticals. Changes in healthcare policy since 1995 include introduction of a health insurance system and an end to free healthcare outside a basic package of health benefits, as well as new systems of provider payment. The network of rural and urban primary care centres is still largely a holdover from the Soviet era, but the payment structure for services has changed. As of 1999, total healthcare expenditure was estimated at 2.8% of GDP.

In 1998, there were 4.7 nurses, 0.3 midwives, and 0.3 dentists per 1,000 people. As of 1999, there were a total of 246 hospitals, with 22,500 beds. In the same year, there were an estimated 4.4 physicians and 4.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people.

Immunisation rates for the country in 1997 were as follows: children up to one year old were vaccinated against tuberculosis, 76%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 92%; polio, 98%; and measles, 95%.





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