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Despite recent welcome social reforms instituted by the government, the needs of young people in Georgia are not considered a national priority.
Continuing conflicts in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions have severely affected the delivery of basic human services in those areas.
Issues facing children in Georgia
- A lack of basic health services has prevented the elimination of communicable diseases. The Azeri and Armenian minority groups, in particular, lack access to medical services and prenatal care. Most babies are delivered at home, contributing to high infant and maternal mortality rates, especially among minority groups.
- Micronutrient deficiencies are common in young children.
- HIV/AIDS prevalence remains low, though more preventive measures are needed.
- Many parents lack essential knowledge and skills needed to support their children’s early development. Because many families cannot afford the fees, preschool enrolment has declined to less than 33 per cent.
- More than 4,000 children with two living parents have been relegated to state institutions because of poverty or health issues. Another 4,500 children are internally displaced.
- In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, access to health services, hospitals, drugs, electricity and safe water is extremely low.
Activities and results for children
- Rates of infant mortality, under-five mortality and maternal mortality have all improved since 2000, though they remain low compared to European standards.
- Immunization rates have increased to 70–80 per cent for the most common diseases (exceeding 90 per cent for tuberculosis), although vaccination rates remain low in rural areas and conflict zones. The government has taken on procurement responsibilities for half of Georgia’s vaccination programmes.
- The First Lady’s efforts to eliminate iodine deficiency have led Parliament to ban imports of non-iodized salt.
- A law has been submitted to Parliament to protect victims of domestic violence by making it a criminal offence to violate a restraining order.
- A 2005 General Education Law has provided the framework for an inclusive educational system.
- A plan for reducing the number of institutionalized children was approved in 2005. With UNICEF’s support, 800 children have been reintegrated into their families.
- UNICEF provided emergency aid (hygiene kits, health kits and school-in-a-box kits) to seven regions that experienced severe flooding and landslides in 2005.
- In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, UNICEF and its partners delivered vaccines, surgical supplies, cold-chain equipment, water-purification systems, educational materials, vitamins and essential drugs.