Shipment Date: 1/30/2003
The small, mountainous country of the Republic of Georgia borders the Black Sea and is nestled between Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. After gaining independence, the relatively tranquil life of Georgians was replaced by political and social upheaval. The country was racked by civil war, and the capital city of Tbilisi was swamped with refugees. By 1995, the country had stabilized but the health care system is still in a dire economic position because of the government mandated conversion from a state-funded heath care system to a market-driven system. With no safety net in place, the expense of health care has fallen on the shoulders of the sick and nearly half of all Georgians have been forced to forego professional medical care when sick. Mortality rates have increased by 18%, infant mortality has risen, and fewer people have been immunized against disease.
Direct Relief's donation consisted of a 40-foot container of essential hospital equipment and supplies including wheelchairs donated by the Wheelchair Foundation, syringes and surgical sponges contributed by Kendall Healthcare/Tyco, and exam gloves donated by Microflex. In partnership with another non-governmental organization, these supplies will be distributed to health facilities throughout the country.