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High Blood Pressure, Excitement and Depression among IDPs

Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori

In the morning of March 13, before TV-Company Imedi released simulated Chronicle, the society studying the hypertension level among Georgian population published the results of their research in the IDP settlements. According to the research in Tserovani and Karaleti settlements, more than half of IDPs have high blood pressure, excitement and depression.

“Our aim is to survey health conditions of the IDPs. We intend to protect the interests of these people. First of all, we want to regulate their chronic diseases and supply them with the medicines which are necessary for them. Providing corresponding information to the IDPs is also necessary. All competent structures shall involve this procedure,” said project director Dali Trapaidze at the conference.

“It is important to study health conditions of IDPs. Their water supply and nutrition shall be improved.  Very often, IDPs have health problems because of insufficient food. As for other problems, the displaced people have problems of unemployment and lack of information. For example, 58% of them does not know what insurance services they can enjoy,” said the chairperson of the healthcare committee of the parliament Otar Toidze.

“As a doctor, I should point out that particular attention should be paid to the depression, excitement and psycho-somatic diseases; as well as those needs which can improve their conditions in post-conflict situation,” said the professor Bezhan Tsinamdzgvrishvili.

“Everybody should have access to mental and physical healthcare. It covers not only timely and corresponding treatment, but access to adequate drinking water, shelter, food, permanent accommodation and sanitary. Violation of the human rights or inappropriate attention might have serious impact on the health,” wrote the World Health Organization of IDPs in 2002.

Experts agree that displaced people face various risks of health and welfare; mostly they are much more dangerous than the conflict itself.

Speaking about the accessibility to the healthcare among IDPs, we mean not only financial obstacles (particularly in regard with medicines), but also about the environmental conditions which can be dangerous for them – like short distance, lack of transportation, incapability to transport (old age or fear of transportation).

The working group interviewed 356 people. Almost all of them – 99, 4 % - replied to the questions. The age of most of the respondents was between 30 and 64.

According to the education, 20, 5 % of the interviewed people had high education; 23, 3 % graduated from vocational college; almost half of them – 48, 8 % had secondary education; only 4, 5 % had primary education; and 3, 1 % of them did not finish their high education.

According to social level, 38, 5 % is unemployed; 23, 6 % is housewife; 17, 7 % is retired; only 13 % is employed. 2, 8 % is still student; 2, 2 % considers themselves absolutely unemployed and 2, 2 % thinks they are unable to work at all.

According to the income, 58, 4 % of the respondents have about 100 GEL monthly income; 36, 8 % has income from 100 to 300 GEL a month. 3, 4 % of respondents said that their monthly income is between 300 and 500 GEL; only 1, 1 % has more than 500 GEL per month. 38, 7 % considers themselves extremely impoverished; only 7, 3 % does not think they are poor.

According to the number of children in the family, 42, 5 % of the interviewed people have one child in Karaleti settlement; in Tserovani settlement their percentage is 29 %. 47, 2 % of Karaleti settlers have two children; in Tserovani 61 % has two children. As for the families with three children, their number in both settlements is almost equal and it differs between 8 and 10 %. There is only 1, 8 % of settlers in both settlements with four children.

Regardless monthly income, the families spend their money mostly on food. A family spends 79, 8 % - 91, 6 % of their monthly income on food. They spend 8, 4 % - 22, 1 %.of their money on medicines.

26 % of the interviewed people complained about drinking water. For example, 74, 2 % of them does not like the taste of the water; 20, 4 % of them said the water is turbid; 3,2 % does not like the color; 2,2 % complains about smell. Tserovani settlement is supplied with the drinking water 24 hours a day; in Karaleti settlement 22 % of residents have to fetch water from the stream and it takes 13, 5 minutes to get there. In the settlement, children of 40 % families fetch water. 

Particularly difficult is the situation in regard with the nutrition. 55, 6 % of the interviewed people said they rarely eat meat course. Only 2 people have meat every day. 35 interviewed people have meat once a week; and 93 respondents have meat once or twice a month.

As for dairy products, only 3, 7 % of the interviewed people can have them every day; 11, 8 % said they have dairy products once a week; 42, 7 % said they rarely have dairy products.

IDPs do not eat fish. 50, 8 % said they rarely eat fish. 60%-63% of the respondents said they have egg, fruit and vegetables every week.

28, 9 % of the respondents have visited the medical personnel for the last 30 days; 93, 2 % of them visited doctor and 1 % visited nurse; 4, 8 % consulted with Pharmaceutist. 92, 7 % complained about doctor’s service. It must be pointed out that only 8, 7 % of the interviewed people have information about medical allowances. As for chronic diseases, 28, 4 % complains about hypertension; 11, 4 % complains about other hearth diseases. 4, 8 % of the interviewed complain about urinary system.

The respondents with medical allowances apply to various medical institutions. 30, 6 % applies to hospital; 28, 2 % applies to pharmacy; 24, 4 % applies to medical clinic; 13, 4 % applies to out-patients; and 2, 4 % - to private doctor.

26, 2 % of the IDPs, who apply to hospital, need operation; 13, 4 % has hearth problems (among them 69 % has blood pressure), 7, 5 % has otolaryngology problems.

60, 6 % of the respondents think they are safer in the new settlement. 34, 2 % thinks they are more or less safe; and 3, 6 % thinks they are completely safe in the settlement.

IDPs mostly receive information from television – 96, 9 %; from printed media – 2, 5 % and from radio – 0, 6 %. They do not have any access to internet.

IDPs assess the quality of construction in Tserovani and Karaleti settlements as follows: in Karaleti 75, 4 % thinks the quality is very poor; 23, 5 % thinks that quality is satisfactory; only 1, 1% thinks that the construction quality is good.

In Tserovani less people complain about construction quality. For example, 49, 7 % thinks the cottages are of bad quality; 39, 4 % thinks that the quality is satisfactory. 7, 8 % thinks the quality is good.

The biggest problems in their current accommodation are:

1.    Damaged ceiling – (25, 5 % in Karaleti; 29, 5 % in Tserovani);
2.    Damaged walls – (15, 9 % in Karaleti; 24, 4 % in Tserovani);
3.    Poor sewerage system in bathrooms – (13, 8 % in Karaleti; 22, 3 % in Tserovani);
4.    Damp walls – (0, 8 % in Karaleti; 9,3 % in Tserovani);
5.    Damaged floor (18 % in Karaleti; 2,5 % in Tserovani);
6.    Damaged doors and windows – (3 % in Karaleti; 4, 3 % in Tserovani);
7.    Other defects – (18, 4 % in Karaleti; 7, 4 % in Tserovani).

Only residents of Karaleti complain about problems with electricity system (1, 6 %) and lack of sheds (3 %).

Respondents complain about the fact that mostly they had to improve some defects in the cottages and outside with their own expenses.

Based on the results, the working group concluded that there is no access to the data about health problems and mortality among IDPs; besides that, IDPs are confused because of frequent changes in the healthcare system; diseases are not actively and timely discovered among IDPs and it is serious problem; there is huge deficit of communication between IDPs and medical institutions, NGOs and private companies. Population does not have information about humanitarian aid, about various events and activities planned within the humanitarian programs. IDPs do not have enough information about allowances they can have in medical service; IDPs do not apply to medical clinic often; medical personnel or nurses are not qualified enough in medical clinics.
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