The Jamestown Foundation: “Why are Ossetians and Abkhazians Coming to Georgia for Medical Treatment?”

The Administrative Boundary Line between Georgia and South Ossetia. Photo. Ministry of Defence., Mar 12, 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia

Why are Ossetians and Abkhazians Coming to Georgia for Medical Treatment?

This is the question posed by Giorgi Menabde and in a piece for The Jamestown Foundation published on March 9; Menabde attempts to answer his own question.

Each year hundreds of residents in Georgia’s breakaway regions make the complicated journey from the occupied states to Georgia’s capital Tbilisi to receive urgent medical treatment or to undergo complex surgery that is fully-funded by the Georgian Government. This fact particularly infuriates the de facto leader of Abkhazia but it still continues to happen.

But why?

First of all, no modern clinic has appeared in South Ossetia since it was recognized by Russia, despite the fact that Moscow has invested an estimated $1 billion into this region’s development,” writes Menabde.

Secondly, when comparing the level of medical treatment with the nearby facilities, Georgia can provide a much higher quality of healthcare, and thirdly, Ossetians can receive high-quality medical treatment in Georgia at no cost.

"Georgia does not have state hospitals, but the government pays private medical centers for the services they provide to residents of South Ossetia,” writes Menabde.

Residents of breakaway Abkhazia also travel to Georgia’s capital for treatment.

… Ambulances from western Georgia often bring critically ill patients from Abkhazia to clinics in Zugdidi, Kutaisi and Tbilisi for urgent medical treatment. Abkhazian authorities also dislike this, but they prefer not to create any obstacles for those of their residents who can receive assistance from Georgia

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