The Business Year

HE Oqtay Shiraliyev

AZERBAIJAN - Health & Education

Time For A Check Up

Minister, Health


HE Oqtay Shiraliyev entered the department of general health of the Azerbaijan Medical University and graduated in 1973. He worked as a junior physician at the surgical unit of the Baku City Clinical Hospital No 3, and, starting from 1974, as a surgeon at the hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 1977, he moved to the clinical residency of Moscow Institute for Medical Practitioners. In 1978, he began his postgraduate course at First Moscow Medical University, and in 1981 achieved his Master’s degree. Later, in 1992, he gained his doctorate from the Moscow Oncology Center. Starting from 1991, he worked as an Associate Professor at the Azerbaijan State Institute of Medical Practitioners, and then as a professor of the chair of Radiology and Endoscopy. He is now the head of this chair on a pro-bono basis. In 2003, he received the academic degree of a professor. He is the author of around 100 research papers, including four monographs and 13 inventions and technical innovations.

TBY talks to HE Oqtay Shiraliyev, Minister of Health, on how the Ministry is working to improve the general health of the population and projects to increase the availability of services.

The First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, recently visited the National Children’s Sanatorium in Baku and assessed operations there. What improvements have been carried out at the sanatorium recently?

The reforms carried out in the healthcare sector form the backbone of the social policy of the state. The goal-oriented activities carried out under the leadership of President HE Ilham Aliyev have led to a qualitative and quantitative improvement of this sphere. Along with the excellent organization of children’s education and training, the government is attaching great importance to their health. The President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, HE Mehriban Aliyeva, is doing a great deal for the protection of children’s health, the modernization of the healthcare system, and the development of its material and technical infrastructure. The measures carried out by HE Mehriban Aliyeva in the public health sector are of a consistent nature. The commissioning of such a facility for children in need of special care is commendable. Built in 1986, the sanatorium had never been renovated. Since the building was no longer serviceable, its major overhaul commenced in 2012. The eight-story building has a total area of 8,000sqm. The electrocardiography, physiotherapy, training, psychology, game halls, and wards are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. The building is fully equipped for 182 personnel to provide children with qualified medical assistance. Children aged 4-14 suffering from somatic diseases will be treated at the medical facility. Children from all over Azerbaijan will have access to the sanatorium. There is also a ward for the parents of the children needing special care. The sanatorium has physiotherapy, rehabilitation and remedial gymnastics units, a 100-seat auditorium, and healing baths. The facility is well suited to provide children with comfortable recreation, examination, and treatment.

What is the Ministry of Health doing to provide participants and visitors to Azerbaijan during the First European Games with qualified medical assistance?

Although the preparation time is rather limited, all government agencies involved with preparations for the Games, including the healthcare sector, are attaching great importance to this issue. As in all other spheres, extensive preparations are under way in the healthcare sector. Given the scale of the inaugural European Games, as well as the expected number of visitors, the entire healthcare system has an obligation to provide visitors and the local population with qualified medical assistance. Following an executive order of the Ministry of Health, a special European Games healthcare committee has been set up. The committee operates in close contact with the Baku European Games Organizing Committee (BEGOC). Preparations cover all spheres of the healthcare system, including the overall sanitary and hygienic situation, medical institutions, medical personnel, and medical equipment and supplies. It is mainly focused on two areas: organization of medical assistance and sanitary-hygienic safety. When we talk about the organization of medical assistance, we imply the establishment of specialized medical institutions (organization of a specialized medical clinic in the Olympic village), provision of the existing and newly-established medical institutions with medical equipment meeting international standards, comprehensive training of medical personnel, and the organization of qualified emergency medical care at the required level. The organization of emergency medical care is of paramount importance because people experiencing acute health problems first contact the ambulance, and further examination and treatment of a patient often depends on the ambulance. Therefore, ambulance crews are expected to operate at all venues, hotels, and public spaces during the Games on a round-the-clock basis. In order to provide visitors and Azerbaijani citizens with qualified medical assistance during the Games, new Mercedes ambulance vehicles fully fitted with all the latest emergency medical equipment and appliances are to be commissioned. As more than 10,000 people are expected to visit Azerbaijan during the Games, in addition to enhancing the qualification of medical personnel, we have also organized English language courses for doctors.

Healthcare is readily available throughout Baku, but less so in other parts of Azerbaijan. What can be done to increase the strength of regional healthcare in Azerbaijan?

One of the main objectives facing the Ministry of Health is to improve the level of first-aid and improve the quality of medical services in the countryside. In addition to Baku, a number of activities have been carried out and are still ongoing all across the country. The numerous central district hospitals, village centers, perinatal clinics, and dispensaries built and renovated in our districts are fitted with all the necessary medical facilities, equipment, and medicine, and meet the latest international standards, which is evidence of the application of a rigorous approach to this sphere. This work will be continued in the future too, as we plan to further improve the material and technical infrastructure of medical facilities in the countryside, build and renovate them, and supply them with state-of-the-art medical equipment. The vast majority of the 600 recently commissioned medical facilities are located in the districts.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has implemented of a number of international humanitarian projects in Azerbaijan. What has been the role of the Ministry of Health in these projects?

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, led by its President HE Mehriban Aliyeva, has made an exceptional contribution to the development of healthcare in Azerbaijan. These activities include a project on helping children suffering from diabetes, the provision of children under 14 years of age with insulin and syringes, the construction in Baku of a modern Center of Thalassemia as part of a project “Life without Thalassemia,” permanent blood donation campaigns in the capital and other cities, assistance to children suffering from cardiac insufficiency, cleft lip and palate, and free-of-charge examination and treatment of people from low-income families. The Foundation also takes an active part in the construction and major overhaul of medical institutions. Our grateful people always remember and appreciate the immeasurable contribution of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation to the development of our healthcare system.

What areas does the Ministry of Health plan to develop more in 2015?

Continuation of healthcare reforms and provision of qualified and affordable medical assistance is an important part of Azerbaijan 2020: Outlook for the Future. The concept envisages further improvement of the material and technical infrastructure, construction, renovation, and the major overhaul of new medical institutions and their provision with the latest medical equipment. In addition, various state programs on social diseases (diabetes, hemophilia, thalassemia, olcological diseases, immunoprophylaxis, hemodialysis, tuberculosis, and AIDS, as well as others) are to be implemented. We intend to continue the campaign to fight drug and alcohol addiction, and implement a number of public awareness activities. The improvement of health services to the level of developed countries is an important component of the country’s long-term development strategy. A healthy individual and a strong healthcare system are key factors for the sustainable and long-term development of human resources. The reforms under way attest to the fact that people are at the heart of the policies pursued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.



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