Analysis of Human Rights Situation of Ethnic Minority Patients
The results of the survey on human rights situation of ethnic minority patients were released by the Institute of Social Studies and Analysis with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).
The survey results are based on the information received from interviewed families. 1004 respondents were interviewed, who provided information about 3623 members of their families. Most respondents were ethnic Azerbaijanis (63.2%) and Armenians (32%).
The economic background of interviewed respondents is deplorable. Most adult members of the interviewed families are either housewives or unemployed (46.6%); a share of employed family members is only 24.6%. Monthly income of a household is low (GEL 450 per month). 33.5% of respondents say that their family incomes are enough only to buy food and clothes; 22.6% of respondents spend their incomes on basic needs. 13.3% of interviewed households are registered in the database of families living below poverty line. 28.8% of them receive social allowances.
41.4% of respondents noted that there were some cases during past two years when they needed medical aid but failed to receive it. As a rule, it can be explained by low incomes of families (rather than by violation of patient rights).
Only 6.7% of families have private medical (corporate or individual) insurance; most respondents are the beneficiaries of the state-sponsored universal healthcare insurance program. Insurance mostly involves services of medical specialists and instrumental examinations.
The universal healthcare program is assessed positively, but almost one fourth of interviewed respondents claim that they either have low access or have no access at all to universal healthcare services. They mostly explain it by long distance to medical facilities with hospitals located far away and drugstores closer to them.
Respondents use out-patient services more frequently (one third of family members), followed by emergency medical services (13.1%) and finally, in-patient services (9.4). Most frequently, patients apply to out-patient facilities (five patients for past two years).
The level of satisfaction with the services of primary healthcare facilities, hospitals and drugstores is high.
The human rights situation of patients looks as follows:
In the context of their privacy rights, respondents indicate at a) discrimination on the grounds of their ethnic and religious origin that was mostly demonstrated in neglecting religious prohibitions and views (a total of 79 cases); b) disclosure of medical information to family members (39 cases) and c) other persons/strangers (19 cases).
The following circumstance was revealed in terms of the right to receiving information on medical services: medical personnel did not inform patients on a) alternatives of medical services, their accompanying risks and possible efficiency (39.8%); b) patients' rights and obligations (39.6%); c) possible consequences in case of refusal to receive medical services (39.1%); diagnostic, medicinal and rehabilitation services, their accompanying risks and possible efficiency (37.1%); names of doctors and their professional experience (35.2%).
About one fifth of respondents face language barriers in receiving information about medical services.
Violation of the right to physical integrity was revealed in 17 cases, when medical treatment was performed against the will of the patient.
46 respondents indicated at the cases of violation of the right to life, when a patient died due to the negligence and incompetence of medical personnel.
Degrading treatment was mostly associated with palliative patients: out of 85 respondents (who stated that their acquaintances have been diagnosed with incurable diseases over the past 10 years), only 33 had access to all necessary drugs. Insufficient finances were cited as the reason behind lack of access.
As for the reaction to discrimination and the right to equality, the level of reactions of citizens/patients to the above mentioned violations is extremely low. Only 7 such cases were revealed.
The research was funded within the framework of the Public Healthcare Program of Open Society Georgia Foundation.