A total of 1644 residents of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia received free state-funded medical treatment in Georgia proper in 2017 within the government’s State Program for Referral Services, the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs told Civil.ge.
According to the Ministry, the Georgian government funded the medical services of 1137 residents of Abkhazia (including 179 children), and 507 residents of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia (including 57 children), with the overall cost of the program standing at GEL 4.28 million.
The State Program for Referral Services, introduced by the government in 2010, is available for residents of the two occupied regions who do not have Georgian passports and identity cards, and covers the patients’ full medical services in hospitals in the Tbilisi-controlled territory, as well as their transportation in emergency situations.
Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, who briefly spoke on the matter in December 2017, said the government “managed to include Gali residents, so that they are able to benefit from free healthcare as well.”
Residents of Gali, Abkhazia’s easternmost district with predominantly ethnic Georgian population, had previously been unable to benefit from fully-funded medical services due to their possession of Georgian citizenship.
According to Ketevan Bakaradze, Healthcare Minister in the Tbilisi-based Abkhazian government-in-exile, around 50 residents of Gali district benefited from free medical services in 2017.