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Azerbaijan: Health
Country Study > Chapter 5 > Education, Health, and Welfare > Health


Azerbaijan's health care system was one of the least effective in the Soviet republics, and it deteriorated further after independence. On the eve of the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the number of physicians per 1,000 people in Azerbaijan was about four, the number of hospital beds about ten, and the number of pharmacists about seven -- all figures below average for the Soviet Union as a whole. According to reports, in the late 1980s some 736 hospitals and clinics were operating in Azerbaijan, but according to Soviet data some of those were rudimentary facilities with little equipment. Medical facilities also include several dozen sanitoriums and special children's health facilities. The leading medical schools in Azerbaijan are the Azerbaijan Medical Institute in Baku, which trains doctors and pharmacists, and the Institute for Advanced Training for Physicians. Several research institutes also conduct medical studies.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan's declining economy made it impossible for the Azerbaijani government to provide full support of the health infrastructure. Shortages of medicines and equipment have occurred, and some rural clinics have closed. In 1993 a Western report evaluated Azerbaijan's sanitation, pharmacies, medical system, medical industry, and medical research and development as below average, relative to similar services in the other former Soviet republics.

In 1987 the leading causes of death in order of occurrence were cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory infection, and accidents. The official 1991 infant mortality rate -- twenty-five per 1,000 population -- was by far the highest among the Transcaucasian nations. International experts estimated an even higher rate, however, if the standard international definition of infant mortality is used.

Data as of March 1994

Last Updated: March 1994

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Azerbaijan was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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