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Azerbaijan: Toward Better Health Care

August 28, 2013

World Bank Group

Being on dialysis three times a week was hard enough, says Hashimova Gulmaya, but traveling 50 kilometers back and forth for the regular three hour treatments, she says, had simply overwhelmed her.

“For transportation, I paid 13 manats every time, three times a week, every week, and I was so tired.  Getting there and back was awful.  Now it is okay, and this is near my house,” she says from a new general hospital in the city where she lives.

The new hospital near Gulmaya’s home in the Azerbaijani city of Sheki was built by the country’s Ministry of Health. 

The recently constructed facility is part of a larger government project, focused on improving Azerbaijan’s health sector, and assuring the country’s people get the essential medical attention they need, nearby.

" Before this was built we were going to Gabala and the transportation there cost 25 manats, but now it is easy to come here and get our treatment. "

Nizami Imamov

dialysis patient

The World Bank-funded project has built two general hospitals, including the one in Sheki, which houses the region’s first time ever dialysis department, saving trouble, time and money for vulnerable patients.

“Before this was built we were going to Gabala and the transportation there cost 25 manats, but now it is easy to come here and get our treatment,” says dialysis patient Nizami Imamov.

In addition to the new hospitals, eight primary health care facilities and four village hospitals are being constructed under the project which aims at increasing medical services in the regions of Azerbaijan where the need is greatest. 

Hundreds of Azerbaijan’s doctors and nurses have been trained in new skills through the project, which has also provided new medical equipment. 

“We got training there in laparoscopic surgery that we didn’t have in Azerbaijan and we learned to do that and other operations,” says Oncologist Elton Babayev.

Through the health project, Babayev says he and colleagues received training in Turkey, in updated techniques used to combat cancer.

And hospital nurse, Yegana Mammadova, says she received training in the technology needed to run new dialysis machines in the new hospital in Sheki. 

“We were trained in Baku how to use the equipment, how to treat the patients, and to provide primary health care,” Mammadova says.

She says that the training and the new equipment have helped her and her colleagues to better serve their patients, and Azerbaijan’s health sector at large!