Drugstore Conditions in Georgian Villages

By Ainur Nabili

Ziyadeli Mustafaoglu, 75, lives in Tskhaldidi. He said that most residents of this village are elderly people. Most of them have various health problems; Mustafaoglu has diabetes.

They often need to get medicine or visit a doctor, but in Tskhaldidi there is no drugstore or doctor. Mustafaoglu says there are no drug stores in nearby villages as well. Therefore, each trip to buy drugs costs him extra money to pay for transport. "I go to Tbilisi every week or once in two weeks, including in cold winter weather. Because I can’t live without the drugs,” he says.

In October of 2015, there were 4,666 pharmacy facilities registered in Georgia. But data show that pharmacies are distributed disproportionately. Most pharmacies are located in the cities, while there are many villages that don’t have a single pharmacy.

According to Tina Turdziladze, who heads the board of the Healthcare Experts’ Club, there is a huge problem of physical accessibility to drugs. But the problem is not prioritized because a more acute problem is financial accessibility of drugs.

The Georgia Ministry of Health envisions simplified regulations in order to increase the access to medicines in villages. For example, certified doctors who have special education in pharmacology would have the right to sell medicines in villages. Qadir Nebioglu and his wife also live in Tskhaldidi. Both are sick: his wife has rheumatism and he has heart disease. "We try to live on our pension, but drug prices are very high,” Nebioglu says. He tries to save on transport costs by buying enough drugs to last two or three months. He also complains about the quality of medicine: “Last winter my heart hurt and I took a drug, but then I felt worse. The doctor said that I had used old medicines.” Turdzeladze says the reason for shortage of pharmacies in villages is related to weak profitability. Most people living in the villages are poor and it’s difficult for them to make out-of-pocket payments for medicine. They need financial assistance. The Ministry of Health says it doesn't regulate drug stores on the basis of demographic or geographic data. After a privatization process in 1997, all pharmacies became private legal entities. Nobody can be forced to open a drugstore in a village. Anaxanim Aliqizi, 63, said that if you have a car and your family member is in serious pain, you can go to Tbilisi and buy drugs. But if you don't have a car, he says you just stay at home and wait for death in the village.

2015 წელს 4666 ფარმაცევტული დაწესებულება იყო რეგისტრირებული საქართველოში. აქედან 1751 მოქმედი აფთიაქი. აფთიაქები არათანაბრად არის გადანაწილებული სოფლად და ქალაქად. ევროპული ნორმის მიხედვით, 10 000 ადამიანზე ერთი აფთიაქია რეკომენდებული. თბილისში ერთი აფთიაქი მოდის 1570 ადამიანზე. რეგიონში კი ერთი აფთიაქი 2113 ადამიანზე.

შვედეთში, მაგალითად, 1414 რეგისტრირებული აფთიაქია. პოპულაცია- 9585948

ჩვენთან 1751 აფთიაქი პოპულაცია 3700000

შვედეთთან შედარებით საქართველოში 2.5 ჯერ მეტი აფთიაქია, თუმცა, საქართველოში სოფლის მოსახლეობის ნაწილისათვის წამალზე ხელმისაწვდომობა შეზღუდულია. მაგალითად, სოფელ წყალდიდში, სადაც 2000 მოსახლე ცხოვრობს, არც ერთი აფთიაქი არ არის.