Tbilisi: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held a meeting with Minister of Labor, Health and Social Protection Zurab Azarashvili and his deputies from the occupied territories. The plans to be implemented in 2023 and the main priorities of the Ministry were discussed. The talk was about the dynamics of the implementation of “Georgian Development Strategy – Vision 2030”.
The Minister of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Welfare and Deputies briefed the Prime Minister on the changes planned by the Ministry in various directions to further improve the situation.
The work gathering discussed measures planned by the Ministry to improve access to quality medicines.
Minister and deputies noted that from February 15, the reference prices for medicines would come into force. It was also noted that as a result of the opening of the Turkish pharmaceutical market, the population of Georgia would save up to 200 million GEL annually.
Plans are planned for 2023:
• Expanding the prescription of medicines regulated by reference prices (from essential medicines);
• Implementation of a direct contract (Managed Entry Agreements) mechanism for expensive medicines;
• Full operation of the drug quality laboratory;
• Chronic Drug Abuse Package Improvement (A review of annual drug funding limits will end in the first quarter).
Minister and deputies briefed PM Irakli Garibashvili on the measures planned to protect public health. It has been noted that in 2023 more than 590,000 people are scheduled to be screened for hepatitis C, and by 2026 the total elimination of hepatitis C is planned.
The talk about the work warm-up touched on the changes in the direction of the emergency service. In this direction, it is planned for 2023:
• Creation of a separate stroke management direction (stroke unit) so that in case of such a call, a specialized brigade can go directly;
• Purchase of 70 new standard ambulances; as a result, there will be no more cars older than five years in the car park;
• Construction of service centres in Batumi, Khulo, Keda, Shuakhevi, and Akhalkalaki, as well as the construction of two new service centres in Tbilisi and the rehabilitation of Ambrolauri Service Center – the Minister noted that 12 emergency service centres have already been renovated in Tbilisi. The insurance package of ambulance staff has also improved, and instead of the 23 GEL package, they will have a 60 GEL package.
• Work has begun to incorporate a dispatcher’s program into 112 programs, which will allow us to select low-priority calls and, in such cases, a patient-only phone-in-charge. The service is planned to reduce calls by about 35% and make the service much more efficient;
• Negotiations are underway at the Medical University to form a bachelor’s program of a paramedic, which will allow us to gradually replace emergency doctors with specialized paramedics.
According to the National Health Agency, in 2023, it is planned to expand funding to the entire DRJ system’s overall health program (childbirth, perinatal, and postpartum pregnancies). Also, in 2023 ONCO and direct procurement methods from manufacturers of rare disease treatments will be introduced.
Irakli Garibashvili was also briefed about the rehabilitation and equipment process of the infectious diseases hospital. It was also noted that in 2023 the complete rehabilitation of the Republican Hospital and Kutaisi Clinic would begin, the medical holding development plan will be developed, the state children’s oncology service will be set up, the dialysis service will be made available in Khulo, Kwareli and Tsalenjikha. In 2022, dialysis centres will be opened in Ambrolauri, Lanchkhuti, Mestia, Tianeti and Kazbegi.
It is also planned to open 50 additional telemedicine cabinets in the village doctor program in 2023. About 100 outpatient clinics will be repaired throughout the country.
The changes planned to fulfil the obligations of the association with the EU were also discussed at the Working Tatbir. It was noted that in 2022 the Parliament will adopt a law on the quality and safety of human blood and its components. The transitional period of the law has been set until July 1, 2025, and during this period, will include the establishment and equipment of a central blood state institution, update guidelines and standards and produce an active information campaign promoting selfless donation.
The Minister and deputies briefed Irakli Garibashvili on the bills prepared by the Ministry, which will be presented to the government for discussion in the first quarter of 2023:
• Law on human organ transplantation;
• Law on human tissue and cell transplantation;
• The law on the use of assistive reproductive technologies.
It was noted that work was under way on an antimicrobial resistance strategy and action plan, which is a global issue and requires high-ranking political support. Work has also begun on the legislative framework of registration and regulation of medical equipment/cases in accordance with the Eurodirectives.
Emphasis on the draft amendments to the Law on Health Care, which has already been submitted to Parliament. The changes will seek professional recognition for paramedics, public health specialists, nurses and midwives. According to the legislative changes, in 2023 it is planned to develop a regulatory framework for these professions.
• The updated strategy for nursing case development will be approved and a memorandum will be signed with EBRD for the implementation of the steps envisaged by the new strategy.
• From January 1, 2023, the minimum wage mechanism has been put into effect within the framework of the Universal Healthcare Program – 7 Gel per hour for doctors and 4.4 Gel for nurses. The mechanism has improved the incomes of 9000 doctors and 8300 nurses. It is planned to deploy this mechanism to other medical personnel involved in patient care – nurse aide and sanitation.
At the meeting with PM Irakli Garibashvili, the plans of the IDPs were also discussed. The Minister and deputies informed the head of government about the process of providing housing for refugees. It has been noted that in 2023 the construction of apartments in 5 cities will be in an active phase and several problem objects where refugees live will be closed this year.
Regarding the direction of the Social Service Agency, it is planned to start the rehabilitation of 13 service offices in 2023, from which the process of 5 offices will be completed, and the rehabilitation of the remaining offices will be completed in 2024.
Approval of a new methodology of the targeted social program is also planned in 2023, after which, in 2024, the screening of socially vulnerable families will be graded with the new methodology.
Work on Tatbir discussed the course of employment program of public works. It is noted that under the program, in 2022, more than 30 000 socially vulnerable citizens will be employed. According to the plan, in 2023, 20,000 socially vulnerable citizens will be employed.
New projects and initiatives were also discussed with the Prime Minister on Tatbir. Irakli Gharibashvili assigned new tasks to the Minister of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Welfare and Deputies from the occupied territories.