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Opposition party demands free heart treatment

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, November 20
Members of the Christian Democrat Parliamentary opposition faction met Minister of Labour, Healthcare and Social Affairs Aleksandre Kvitashvili in Parliament on November 19. The Opposition members summoned the Minister to talk about the financing of heart and oncology disease surgeries. They demanded that expenditure to cover costs of such surgeries be included in the state budget.

The Christian Democrats stated that the age limit established by Parliament in 2009, under which only people over 60 who needs operations or medical treatment are financed from the budget is unjust, as there is quite a significant number of young people who need help in this direction too. MP Magda Anikashvili said that the Ministry of Health should pay attention to this very serious issue and take the party’s viewpoint into consideration. “The age limit established in 2009 is very unjust, as unfortunately many young people suffer from heart disease in Georgia. The Ministry of Health can confirm this. Very often, treatment at the first stage is of vital importance, that’s why the age limit must be abolished and all sick people should have free medical treatment,” stated Anikashvili.

Party leader Giorgi Targamadze also commented on the issue before starting the meeting. “I think that this change, financing heart and oncology disease surgeries, should be taken on board. We have reasons why the age limit must be removed and I am sure the Minister will pay attention to our demands,” Targamadze said.

During the meeting the Christian Democrats presented several suggestions as to how this problem will be overcome. They told the Minister that first of all the age limit should be either reduced or removed so that the great mass of Georgian citizens will be exempted from charges. If the state budget will not cover the additional expenses this will entail some additional sources should be found, such as companies or organisations. The Minister and party members agreed to work on this together.

Kvitashvili stated after the meeting that the Christian Democrats’ initiative was very serious and important for the Georgian people. The Ministry will take into consideration the party’s demands. “I listened to their demands and suggestions. Work in this direction is really very important for people with oncology or heart problems. The Ministry will discuss this. These additional expenses implied will not be too great and we will try to provide this assistance. If some extra expenses are need, the Ministry will try to find some other sources of financing,” Kvitashvili confirmed.

The Christian Democrats called the meeting interesting and successful. They hoped that their demands will be accepted. They added that changes in this direction would provide additional motivation for Georgian citizens to consult a doctor on time and start treatment at the first and second stages of illness. “Frequently, citizens avoid visiting the doctor because they have no material means. If their treatment and expenses were fully or partially financed, the would be motivated to accept timely medical treatment, which will reduce significantly the number of people suffering and dying from heart disease,” Anikashvili stated.