According to the Democracy Research Institute (DRI), residents of Akhalgori do not have access to quality medical care, which has aggravated the health condition of many patients. In January alone, de facto Tskhinvali's isolation policy claimed the lives of two people.
In December last year, Akhalgori District Hospital was inspected by representatives of the Tskhinvali de facto administration. The inspection allegedly revealed a corrupt scheme, which led to the dismissal of the hospital's chief doctor, Jemal Bedoev, and the appointment of Monika Jioeva as temporary chief doctor. Jioeva, who was transferred from Tskhinvali, was positively characterized by the population and the medical community, but since her appointment, it has become more difficult to transfer patients to Tbilisi-controlled areas. On the basis of the order of the chief doctor, patients are transferred only to Tskhinvali for treatment, although the road connecting Akhalgori and Tskhinvali is especially difficult for patients due to its difficult landscape.
Due to the above circumstances, the condition of several patients living in Akhalgori became critical, which in two cases ended fatally.
- In early January, a man under the age of 70 was admitted to Akhalgori Hospital with a diagnosis of heart attack. Despite the desire of the relatives to transfer the patient to the territory controlled by Tbilisi, he was taken to Tskhinvali due to Monica Jioeva’s categorical refusal. The man died while being transported to Tskhinvali.
- In January, a woman from Akhalgori was not allowed to be transferred to Tbilisi despite her request. Instead, she was transferred to Tskhinvali. After surgery, the patient's condition worsened. Only after that, she was taken to the Tbilisi-controlled area. The patient, who is still in critical condition, continues her treatment in Tbilisi.
- On January 12, a man from Akhalgori died in Tskhinvali after the chief doctor of the hospital did not allow him to be transferred to Tbilisi despite being in critical condition.
According to the Democracy Research Institute, the ban on free movement of Akhalgori residents violates fundamental human rights, for which the Russian Federation and the de facto Tskhinvali regime bear full responsibllity. However, this does not exempt the Georgian Government from its obligation to take care of its own citizens living in the occupied territories.
Accordingly, the Democracy Research Institute calls on the Georgian authorities to use all formats and opportunities to protect the rights of people living in the occupied territories.