In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region, medical facilities include 25 hospitals with 764 beds, where medical services are provided to about 14,300 patients. Health facilities are funded by the insurance companies and patients’ payments. In the recent years, private companies performed renovation of the hospitals in accordance with effective standards in all municipal centers and the city of Poti (Zugdidi: 160 beds; Poti- 75 beds; Mestia- 25 beds; other municipalities – 15 beds in each). There is a children’s home for the disabled children and Senaki Psycho-Neurological Care Home with 34 beneficiaries in the region.
Health facilities of the region also include 9 policlinic complexes with 120 ambulances 5 policlinics, 2 independent ambulance services and 7 high-mountain health facilities. In 2011, number of visits to the doctors (including preventive visits) at these facilities was 384,500.
There are 1,100 medical doctors and 1,300 paramedical staff in the region.
260 ambulance units provide services to all the self-governing units of the region. Motor fleet of the ambulance units are outdated and require upgrades.
Though the ratio of doctor to patient is 1:2000 (one doctor and nurse provide services to less than 2000 patients) , provided by the Primary Health-care Plan, in Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti, visits to the doctors per person in the rural areas is still low. In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti this figure is 0.6.Though this trend is similar to other regions in Georgia, this resulted in weakness of links between the primary health facilities and hospital sector; therefore, the patients prefer to visit the hospitals directly.
Number of private insurance beneficiaries is very low in the region. Usually, these services are used in the urban settlements. Problem of affordability of medical services and medicines is quite significant in the region. Expanded health insurance program provides the basic state insurance package to the population though this is not sufficient to fully deal with the problem.
There are 260 public schools with 45,500 students in the region. Most schools in the region require significant renovation. In the recent years, optimization of general education schools was carried out in the region (15 public schools were closed). Problem of inadequate schooling facilities for the students was not identified in the region.
225 state and 23 private pre-school education facilities operate with 8,900 children enrolled (31.6% of aggregate number of the children of relevant age) in the region. Most institutions require significant renovation and equipment upgrade.
Vocational education institutions operate in Poti, Khobi, Zeda Etseri (Zugdidi Municipality) and Mestia. All four institutions are funded from the municipal budget. Most of the graduates of these institutions cannot meet labor market demands.
One state and one private university operate in the region. Material and technical basis, curricula and processes of both universities require further improvement. Shota Meskhia Zugdidi State University has the faculties of humanities, business, law and health.
The university graduates are zoo-technicians, veterinarians, horticulture specialists, and plant growing specialists. Zugdidi State Teaching University provides education in professions such as: assistant pharmacist, priest, criminalist, accountant, etc. In addition, they provide education in business administration, Georgian philology, English philology, pharmacy, small business management, pharmaceutical analysis and history of Georgian literature. It should be noted that in 2010, 1,715 residents of Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region (0.36% of the region population) – 1008 women and 707 men – were enrolled at the higher education institutions of Georgia.
Culture and Sports
In the region, there are 27 museums; the most notable of them is Dadiani Palace and the Historical-Architectural Museum in Zugdidi; K. Gamsakhurdia Museim in Abasha; Svaneti Museum in Mestia; Ethnographical Museum and M. Khergiani Museum in Ushguli. Number of visitors to these museums was 56,900 in 2011.
The region has 121 libraries, 112 of which operate in the rural areas.
In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region, there are number of theatres, in which 151 performances were staged in 2011, and 13,200 spectators attended them.
In Zugdidi Municipality there are 2 (one state and one public) theatres. In Poti, there is V. Gunia State Theatre; in Senaki – A. Khorava State Dramatic Theatre (in 2008, the theatre building was awarded the status of a cultural monument); and in Khobi – Khobi People’s Theatre. There is one theatre in each of Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku municipalities. It should be noted that Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku theatres have no proper material and technical bases.
In the region, there are 10 culture centers and 11 musical schools, and village culture centers and art schools. These facilities have outdated infrastructure that requires renovation.
There are 9 sports complexes and 6 sports schools with football, athletics, wrestling, chess, basketball, martial arts, judo, horse riding, tennis, grass hockey and rugby sections in the region. In addition, there are 5 chess schools and 2 chess centers in the region. In Abasha, there is an equestrian sports club, which has won the first place in the team championship of Georgia in 2008. There are established regional sports federations in Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti.
Regional clubs: “Zugdidi” of Zugdidi, “Merani” of Martvili and “Kolkheti” of Poti participate in the major league soccer championships of Georgia; “Skuri” of Tsalenjikha and “Kolkheti” of Khobi play in the first league. For the purpose of football development and support, within the scopes of programs funded by self-governing units, 73 simple standard playgrounds, 43 arena football playgrounds with artificial turf and 16 complex playgrounds were constructed. In addition, in Ganmukhuri, a stadium was constructed in compliance with the modern standards.