Monday, February 13, 2017

One in four in Georgia report taking antidepressants or antibiotics without a prescription

On a 2016 CRRC survey conducted for Transparency International Georgia (TIG), one in four adults in Georgia reported taking either antidepressants or antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription during the 12 months before the survey. Self-medication with anti-depressants can cause serious problems. While anti-depressants may have side-effects even when taken under the supervision of a physician, the risks are higher without a doctor’s care. Self-medication with antibiotics is also problematic. If taken improperly, they can contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is often thought to be one of the world’s most pressing health problems. Surely, when a quarter of the population reports taking these types of drugs without the supervision of a physician, it represents a public health concern, one of many in Georgia. Current regulations clearly fail to prevent such practices. This blog post looks at which groups in the population report more often taking antidepressants or antibiotics to self-medicate.

Women are significantly more likely to report taking antibiotics or antidepressants without a doctor’s prescription compared to men. While 21% of men reported self-medicating with these kinds of pharmaceuticals the year before the survey, 30% of women did so. A simple cross tabulation suggests the problem is largest in rural settlements. Men in different settlement types are equally likely to report taking these drugs without a prescription, while women in rural settlements are most likely to report doing so.

Note: Only the shares of those answering “Yes” are shown on the charts in this blog post. 

At first glance, the older population (56 and older) in general appears more likely to take anti-depressants and antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. Similar to the finding with settlement types, men of different ages are equally likely to do so, while women who are 36 years old or older report to be doing so most often.

With the use of antibiotics and antidepressants, a doctor’s supervision is particularly important. Many in Georgia still take such drugs without it, and the practice is more common among women than men. In order to begin to deal with this issue, the government of Georgia, and, in particular, the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, as well as civil society organizations should increase awareness of the problems associated with self-medication with anti-depressants and antibiotics, especially among women.

The data which this blog post reports on will soon be available at our Online Data Analysis tool, and is currently available for download here.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The state procurement system in Georgia: Companies’ views (Part 2)

The first part of this blog post presented findings about Georgian companies’ participation in the state procurement system. This post provides an overview of companies representatives’ assessments of the state procurement system and how these assessments differ depending upon the company’s participation or non-participation in the state procurement process.

Company representatives report that their main sources of information about state procurement include the websites of procuring state entities (17%) and the State Procurement Agency’s Unified Electronic System (16%). However, representatives of companies that do not participate in state procurement report that they do not or cannot get information about the state entities’ procurement tenders.

Note: The number of answer options was not limited during the interviews.

Most companies (60%) report trusting the State Procurement Agency, with only a small share (8%) saying they do not trust it. At the same time, almost a third of companies (30%) say they don’t know whether they trust the Agency or not. Notably, representatives of companies which have never bid on state procurement tenders answer “don’t know” more frequently than representatives of companies that have. Moreover, representatives of the companies which have participated in the state procurement process at least once report trusting the Agency more often than the non-participating companies. This result likely indicates that the participating companies’ experiences working with the State Procurement Agency were positive.

Responses to the question, “How much do you agree or disagree that companies which have connections with the government win tenders?” also vary based on whether companies have experience participating in the state procurement system. Representatives of companies that have such experience disagree with this statement more often. Moreover, representatives of companies which have not participated in the state procurement system respond “don’t know” twice as often as participating companies.

Around one third (36%) of the companies that have participated in state procurement think that tenders are often “tailored” to one specific company and the goal is to ensure that this particular company wins. However, almost half (48%) of the participating companies do not agree with this statement. While 27% of the companies which have participated in the state procurement system agree with the statement that tenders may be repeatedly rejected by the procuring side with the aim of awarding the contract to a particular company through simplified tender, almost half disagree with this statement.

Note: This question was asked to the representatives of the 17% of companies that have participated in the state procurement system.  

As the findings presented in this blog post show, representatives of companies that have participated in the state procurement system at least once assess the State Procurement Agency’s work more positively. Most of them trust the Agency and believe that there is no need to have connections with the government to win tenders. Most representatives of companies that have not participated in the state procurement system have difficulty stating their opinion on these issues. The findings presented in this blog post indicate that the State Procurement Agency should do more to raise awareness among companies about the state procurement system.

To explore this topic more, take a look at CRRC-Georgia’s report Survey of companies on state procurement.