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Reform strategies in Georgia and their impact on health care provision in rural areas: evidence from a household survey

George Gotsadze, Akaki Zoidze and Otar Vasadze

Social Science & Medicine, 2005, vol. 60, issue 4, 809-821

Abstract: The transition resulting from the break-up of the Soviet Union significantly affected the health care systems and population health status in the newly independent States. The available body of evidence suggests that contraction of public resources resulting from economic slowdown has led to the proliferation of out-of-pocket payments and private spending becoming a major source of finance to health service provision to the population. Emerging financial access barriers impede adequate utilization of health care services. Most transition countries embarked on reforming health systems and health care financing in order to tackle this problem. However, little evidence is available about the impact of these reforms on improved access and health outcomes. This paper aims to contribute to the assessment of the impact of health sector reforms in Georgia. It mainly focuses on changes in the patterns of health services utilization in rural areas of the country as a function of implemented changes in health care financing on a primary health care (PHC) level. Our findings are based on a household survey which was carried out during summer 2002. Conclusions derived from the findings could be of interest to policy makers in transitional countries. The paper argues that health financing reforms on the PHC level initiated by the Government of Georgia, aimed at decreasing financial access barriers for the population in the countryside, have rendered initial positive results and improved access to essential PHC services. However, to sustain and enhance this attainments the government should ensure equity, improve the targeting mechanisms for the poor and mobilize additional public and private funds for financing primary care in the country.

Keywords: Health; financing; Health; seeking; behavior; Access; to; health; care; Primary; care; Georgia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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