After a year of government negotiations and drafting, a pilot programme of compulsory health insurance has been introduced in Azerbaijan. The project was put in place in February in two regions of the republic – Yevlakh and Mingechevir – and has so far showed promising results.
Azerbaijan has a notoriously poor healthcare system, and despite reforms in recent years, there is still a severe shortage of well-trained staff and high-quality equipment and services. Not only private but also public healthcare is largely concentrated in Baku, the capital, leaving rural areas with very limited support.
Nevertheless, this most recent policy change shows promise for Azerbaijan. The preliminary results are positive and, according to the Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov, suggest that the insurance can be implemented in every area of the country in due course.
Under the policy, citizens are entitled to free, high-quality medical care and 1,800 medical services, including diagnostics and surgical procedures. It signals a huge step for the nation’s social policy, which has historically received very little attention.