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Azerbaijan Health Insurance


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The Republic of Azerbaijan is located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, bordered by Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkey and the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan is a developing nation with a population of approximately 9.5 million (CIA, 2012). Its capital, Baku is located on the Caspian Sea and is home to approximately 25percent of the country’s population. Architectural extremes provide an interesting backdrop to daily life in the Republic, with modern skyscrapers mixed with former Soviet Union block buildings and ancient structures from earlier civilizations, clear examples of the diverse make up of major cities. The weather is as diverse as the culture and the country holds the unique honor of experiencing 9 of the 11 climate types found around the planet. As a general rule, the weather in Azerbaijan would be considered mild and dry during the summer months and mild yet wet in the winter months. Azerbaijani, the official language, is spoken by over 90percent of the country’s inhabitants, and hails from the Turkic family, being similar to Turkish and Qashqai. It is a language also spoken by people in northwest Iran. The tourism industry is still emerging, and tourist facilities are therefore limited, however in a boost to its potential for hosting larger scale events, the country is expecting to attract a large number of tourists in 2012 as it hosts the Eurovision Song Contest, a European singing competition that singers from Azerbaijan won in 2011. Azerbaijan’s tourist slogan sums up the country’s unique character; ‘Azerbaijan, a Land of Magic Colors’.

Azerbaijan Health Care and Insurance

Following independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the quality of Azerbaijan’s health system deteriorated significantly, after which the country did not have the resources to implement significant changes in the delivery of health or welfare services, resulting in the basic Soviet-era framework remaining in place. The formal structure is highly centralized and most decisions regarding key health policy initiatives are undertaken at a national level. The Ministry of Health has overall responsibility for the management of Azerbaijan’s health system, however it is limited in its ability to influence providers of healthcare at the local level, due to the fact they are financially dependent on local district health authorities, which control much of the public funding. Overall financing of the system is primarily provided through general government revenues, including money from the State Oil Fund. Reform of the health system has been incremental therefore many of the main hallmarks of the Soviet model are evident. The majority of health providers in the country are state owned, although over recent years a growing share of health services are being provided through the flourishing private sector, particularly in the capital. Access to private hospitals and treatment clinics is limited however to those able to afford such care. Basic check-ups in private facilities are estimated to cost more than the average wage, highlighting the need for Azerbaijan health insurance in order to offset the high cost of treatment.

Within the main cities and district centres, the delivery of primary healthcare is administered through paediatric clinics, polyclinics and consultation centres. City hospitals provide inpatient care and a wide variety of specialist services. Primary care in rural areas is delivered through a network of village doctor clinics and outpatient departments of village facilities. The gap between the quality-of-care offered in urban areas and that of rural areas is evident, with only 44percent of children in rural areas under the age of one year, having had the measles vaccination compared with 64percent in urban areas. Relatively low levels of expenditure by the Government, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of GDP has meant that out-of-pocket payments account for a significant portion of health expenses for the populace, resulting in access to healthcare being limited for vulnerable households. The prevention of communicable diseases remains a significant issue for the Republic, particularly in regard to diseases such as tuberculosis. Reducing the burden of maternal and infant mortality has also been identified as a key health priority. Diphtheria and Hepatitis B are prevalent. Estimated life expectancy of the populace is lower than that of neighbouring Turkey, Armenia and Georgia, at 68.38 years for males and 74.68 years for females.

Improvements in overall health outcomes and the delivery of services have occurred over the last decade, the government having worked with UNICEF, the World Health Organization and a number of other international agencies to improve the health of Azerbaijanis through better addressing specific diseases and institutionalizing health sector reforms. Despite the improvements there is still a lack of basic medical supplies and a desperate need for modern equipment. Around 11percent of the population still lives below the poverty line which has a direct negative impact on their health. Expatriates living in Azerbaijan today often travel outside of the country for child birth and other major operations in order to receive a high standard of care. Comprehensive medical insurance should be purchased by all expatriates and visitors to the country which includes evacuation by air. Air evacuation is often the only option for treatment; costs for this service can total tens of thousands of dollars.

Azerbaijan travel   Azerbaijan's medical insurance industry is a fast paced ever evolving market however our staff are experts and at your disposal.

Expatriates and Travelers in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Health Insurance Concerns

One of the leading causes of illness among travelers to Azerbaijan is food and water-borne diseases. Expatriates and visitors should choose their eateries carefully, wash hands regularly, ensure only bottled water is consumed and all food is fully cooked. Prior to arriving in the Republic, it is important for travelers to visit a medical professional to arrange necessary vaccinations for the destination. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control, as well as any routine childhood inoculations which are not already up-to-date. Rabies is also advised for those intending to spend considerable time outdoors. An additional risk in the country is mosquito-borne malaria. Malaria is present in several regions during the months of May to October. Those planning to visit an area with a risk of malaria should take precautions to avoid infection. Expatriates and visitors should consider taking an anti-malarial drug, wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers and sleep in an air conditioned room in order to limit the potential for insect bites. For those who enjoy spending time at the sea side, the beaches on the Caspian, around Baku should be avoided. Based on details from the Republic's Centre for Hygiene and Epidemiology, a high level of pollution is reported with a significantly high bacterial content in the sea. Due to the limited medical supplies and poor facilities in Azerbaijan, travel advisories recommend visitors carry a comprehensive first aid kit at all times, but particularly when outside the capital, as well as purchase comprehensive medical insurance.

Overall crime levels in Azerbaijan are low however visitors and expatriates should remain cautious at all times and alert to their surroundings, ensuring the safety of themselves and personal belongings. Advisories note that travelling alone at night should be avoided, when crimes against foreigners are most common, generally targeted at lone males and typically following a night out involving alcohol. Due to an ongoing dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, travel warnings are in place advising against all travel to the area without the required approval from the Azerbaijan government. A cease fire has been in place since 1994 however gunfire is still exchanged across the border. The upkeep of the roads in Azerbaijan, especially those outside the capital are of poor repair, and badly lit. During winter, snowfall can make driving particularly hazardous, highlighting the need for personal emergency provisions such as a kit containing blankets, torch, shovel and snacks. Vehicles in Azerbaijan commonly lack maintenance and the overall standard of driving is unpredictable, with drivers often ignoring one-way signs and other basic rules. Diversions and road closures are generally difficult to identify, often remaining unsigned. In the event of serious trauma from a road accident, medical evacuation to a country with a quality emergency response is more than likely necessary, highlighting the need for international medical insurance in order to cover such costs.

Azerbaijan Expat Health Insurance

The overall health service in Azerbaijan is poor. There are limited medical supplies and a lack of modern medical equipment. Many expatriates choose to receive medical services outside of Azerbaijan. Visitors and expatriates should ensure they arrange comprehensive medical insurance prior to arrival in the country which covers air ambulance as well as all planned activities. Air evacuation to Turkey or other neighboring countries is often the only option for quality medical assistance. International Medical Insurance can provide a free quotation to cover all your medical needs, including emergency evacuation and repatriation, doctors’ fees, hospital services and specialist consultations. Call one of our experienced advisors today.