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Labour, Health and Social Affairs budget facing cutbacks in 2011

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, December 3
The Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia (MOH) made its allocations for the various healthcare projects which will be reflected in the State Budget of 2011. The total amount considered for healthcare projects for the upcoming year remains unchanged but the financing of health insurance projects, which in 2010 is estimated at GEL 1 681 167 000, will now be reduced to GEL 1 363 963 000 for the next year. Monetary assistance has been decreased for the provision of people suffering from diabetes as well. In the frames of the State Budget project of 2011, GEL 5 493 000 has been allocated for providing children and adults suffering form diabetes in 2011 instead of GEL 6 260 000 which was given this year.

Financing of referral services will also be decreased by a third in 2011 compared with the previous year. The referral program, which has been the issue of many Parliamentary debates, has been financed with GEL 138 760 000 this year while only GEL 42 000 000 is being considered for 2011. This program referred to financing operations for patients who have not been included in any of the medical projects had been previously covered by analysts working at MOH. However, it became the responsibility of the Government of Georgia several months ago. This very step had been criticized by the Parliament's opposition, who claimed that the Referral programs should have remained accessible to individuals in need of urgent medical support.

Zaza Gabunia, member of Christian-Democrats faction of Tbilisi City Council, demanded the creation of a social infrastructure for people with disabilities. At the press conference held on December 2, Gabunia accused the Government of violating social protection rights by discouraging people from offering them the relevant living conditions. “When the Government of Georgia is wasting great money on various welfare projects within the capital it is constantly forgetting that no infrastructural conditions have ever been created for the sake of people with disabilities,” he said, suggesting the creation of a special initiative group working on protection of right for these people.

According to the Chairman of the Human Rights and Public Relations Interim Commission Kakha Guruli the joint council working at Tbilisi City Hall with its full authority on decision making, has been working on the problems of people with disabilities along with NGOs and will do its best to deal with any problems facing the disabled.

The National Centre for Disease Control and Public Healthcare will also see its financing reduced in 2011, falling to GEL 39 757 000 instead of GEL 56 310 000 this year. Moreover the number of its staff is to be almost halved. According to the State Budget of 2011 the number of the staff, which is currently 420, will become 260 next year and the amount for financing projects aimed at strengthening epidemiological security will be GEL 6 500 000 instead of the previous GEL 6 340 000.

The State Budget 2011, disapproved by the parliament opposition, is to be adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on December 17 but on December 2 the Minister of Finance Kakha Baindurashvili with the Budget and Finance Committee, visited Dusheti region to discuss suggestions for changes within the document. Controversies between the majority and minority of the Parliament remain unsolved.