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New Minister of Labor, Healthcare and Social Issues unveiled

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, September 13
The Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, introduced the new Minister of Labor Healthcare and Social Issues Andria (Sandro) Urushadze to his colleagues on September 10. “Sandro Urushadze has been working in the Ministry for six years already as the Head of the Health Policy Department, and later he was holding the position of the Head of the Social Service Agency for three years. All the most painful reforms in this Agency were carried out entirely in his hands as the database of the vulnerable population was created during his service which he dealt with comfortably. Several weeks ago, Urushadze was appointed as the Deputy Health Minister and today I want to present and raise him to the level of the Health Minister,” Gilauri said stressing that the newly appointed Minister would start working from the very first day of his nomination.

The first assignments the new minister had received were to finish the constructions of 46 new: 15-25-30 and 70-bed clinics in the regional centers by the end of the year which the insurance agencies have been building so far. “As you know we are performing the rehabilitation of Digomi Clusters through public funds where we also have significant projects as the 14 hospitals and 14 clinics will be transferred to the Digomi Cluster. Furthermore, there are certain problems with the database of vulnerable people. Sandro knows everything well and will make the necessary changes as soon as possible,” PM said, addressing the new Minister.

While stressing that he is well acquainted with the staff of the new Minister of Health, Andria Urushadze said he did not plan any serious changes within the personnel yet. “It is a great responsibility for me to be appointed as the Minister of Healthcare. There are lots of things to be done within the Ministry. We will pay attention to the safety of the insured population by the state and we will also work with the other Ministries to provide qualified medical staff,” Urushadze stated.

The newly appointed Healthcare Minister started his first working day attending the International Conference on Rare Diseases in Tbilisi. At the conference, four unique surgical operations were performed on Georgian children suffering from genetic diseases. “All such cases require sympathy from people and professionals, so that no child or a teenager was left without attention... It not only concerns the medical issues, but the problem of their integration into the society either,” he said, stressing that the Government should be intensively involved in the process.

Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of the New Rights Party, who has known Urushadze for many years, described him as the real qualified specialist and professional manager of the medical system to The Messenger. The leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) Giorgi Targamadze hoped to enjoy constructive cooperation with the new Minister. “CDM had an experience in working with Sandro Urushadze on the issue concerning the improvement of criteria for defining the vulnerable population. We will have an opportunity to ask the new Minister about the news planned in healthcare and social policy and we hope that our arguments and remarks will also be considered,” said Targamadze.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger: “I am not familiar with the new Healthcare Minister but I have heard he is a professional in his field. Generally, Georgia is a country where not names but systems need improvement; the Ministers are simple tools of the system where they work and have fewer chances to promote,” Khukhashvili explained.

“I think that the medical system in Georgia needs particular changes nowadays. Lots of qualified doctors have left the hospitals…the Ministry of Healthcare needs professional administrative and medical staff for the new hospitals which are to be built in the country. What’s more the largest part of the State Budget is spent on social issues thus creation of the Social Issues Department based either on the Healthcare or Finance Ministry would have been better for the million or so people using the insurance policies,” another analyst Nika Chitadze told us.

Anrdia Urushadze has replaced Alexander Kvitashvili who was appointed as the Acting Rector of Tbilisi State University (TSU) on August 31.