The government, with the assistance of The World Bank, has worked to improve Azerbaijan’s healthcare system in recent years. Projects have seen the construction of new medical facilities, the introduction of new equipment and the training of medical staff.
However, healthcare in Azerbaijan remains largely underdeveloped compared to most European countries, and Azerbaijan suffers from a shortage of skills in the medical sector. Most expats seeking serious medical care, therefore, travel abroad, mostly to Turkey or elsewhere in Europe.
Public healthcare in Azerbaijan
Despite positive changes in recent years, public healthcare in Azerbaijan remains inefficient and underfunded. Public hospitals in Azerbaijan are state-run and offer free medical care to Azerbaijani residents.
Public facilities include policlinics, which offer outpatient services, and hospitals and specialised clinics, which offer both outpatient and inpatient services. However, most of these facilities are located in Baku and public healthcare is almost non-existent outside the city. Those facilities that do exist suffer an extreme lack of services, equipment and medical staff.
Private healthcare in Azerbaijan
Private medical facilities offer much higher standards of care, including modern equipment and well-qualified staff, and most expats living in Azerbaijan choose to use private hospitals. The private healthcare sector has undergone expansion in recent years, leaving expats with more choice when it comes to their health.
Although basic emergencies may be attended to in Baku, it may be necessary to be evacuated outside Azerbaijan for any serious medical care. Expats should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance to cover any medical evacuations from Azerbaijan.
Pharmacies in Azerbaijan
There are plenty of pharmacies (aptek) in the main cities in Azerbaijan. Many pharmacies in Baku are open 24/7.
Health insurance in Azerbaijan
Medical insurance is mandatory in Azerbaijan. All Azeris are covered by a national health insurance plan and are entitled to free medical care. Expats in Azerbaijan should ensure that they have private health insurance, which is typically arranged through their employer.
Expats should note that as of January 2016 a reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Azerbaijan is no longer in effect.
Health hazards in Azerbaijan
There are few serious health hazards for Azerbaijan that expats need to be aware of. Malaria is present in some southern regions and prophylaxis may be required.
Water quality is very low in Azerbaijan and expats should avoid drinking tap water. Expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date.
Emergency services in Azerbaijan
Emergency services are available in Baku, but are very limited outside the city. For an ambulance, expats can dial 103.