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On 1 July 2015, at the extraordinary session of the Parliament of Georgia, the Chair of the Parliament’s Committee on Healthcare and Social Issues, Dimitri Khundadze, in his speech about demographic indicators, mentioned that: "Life expectancy has increased by 0.6 year. We managed to achieve this thanks to the universal healthcare programme."

FactCheck

took interest in Dimitri Khundadze’s statement and verified the statistical data on average life expectancy in Georgia.

Average life expectancy is one of the indicators of demographic statistics and represents a general characteristic of mortality.

According to the information

of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the average life expectancy for 2014 is 72.9 years. This number is 2.3 years lower than the number registered in the previous year and 1.8 years lower than the number registered in 2012. At the same time, according to the statistics of 2006-2014, the lowest average life expectancy was registered in 2014. It must be noted that the average life expectancy has decreased both among men and women in Georgia. The highest average life expectancy was registered in 2013 (75.2 years).

Graph 1:

 Average Life Expectancy in Georgia

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The state does indeed have an important role in making for a high average life expectancy. According to demography experts, the healthcare system in general and its affordability and quality are duly reflected in the average life expectancy of a country’s citizenry.

Dimitri Khundadze underscored the role of the universal healthcare programme in regard to average life expectancy in Georgia. The government’s universal healthcare programme was launched in 2013 and covers every citizen of Georgia who does not have another health insurance package. Georgian governmental healthcare programmes existed before 2013 and covered those citizens for whom health services were not affordable (the population living below the poverty line, children up to the age of five years, pensioners, students, etc.). Additionally, the state has been carrying out targeted healthcare programmes for several years to include infectious diseases, tuberculosis, HIV infection/AIDS, diabetes, drug addiction, dialysis and kidney transplantation, emergency aid and an initial health programme for villages. The country also has a cancer screening programme, among others.

The universal healthcare programme did indeed make health services more affordable for the population. However, how this is reflected upon demographic indicators is a matter of separate research.

Conclusion

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the average life expectancy in 2014 was 72.9 years. This number is 2.3 years below the number registered in 2013 and 1.8 years below the number registered in 2012. Additionally, according to the statistics of 2006-2014, the lowest average life expectancy was registered in 2014. It must be noted that Georgia’s highest average life expectancy was registered in 2013.

FactCheck concludes that Dimitri Khundadze’s statement, The average life expectancy in Georgia has increased by 0.6 year, is FALSE.

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