3. Providing health services effectively
The section on PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES EFFECTIVELY describes approaches for service delivery planning and patient pathways for suspected COVID-19 cases. It also considers efforts by countries to maintain other essential services during periods of excessive demand for health services.
3.1 Planning services
The most modern hospital in the country, the 575-bed “New Clinic”, and three new city hospitals (with a further 500 beds) opened in March 2020 and were made available to COVID-19 patients. Ten modern modular hospitals, each with 200 beds, 6 of which will be rapidly built by the state and four by private entrepreneurs are also planned. By Presidential order, 200 ventilators have been bought, and a plant for the production of medical masks, medical alcohol and disinfectants has been established in Sumgait.
The Ministry of Health has launched a new project in August, called Teletababat, to provide remote diagnostics of COVID-19 patients via video calls. This telehealth project also allows patients to pass a medical examination online for medical certificates. The “Video Doktor” mobile app has also been launched to enable remote medical consultations for all patients during the COVID-19.
A vaccination strategy against coronavirus (COVID-19) has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan – "Strategy for vaccination against COVID-19 disease in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2021-2022" (https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/society/3365762.html):
o In the initial phase, 20 percent of the population will be vaccinated;
o The government has identified the risk groups who should be vaccinated first: health workers, law
enforcement agencies working in close contact with the population, and people who have underlying conditions.
o Vaccination will be voluntary.
The second stage of the vaccination programme started on 1 February. In this phase, citizens with medical conditions that increase their risk will be vaccinated, including people with chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and obesity and people aged 50 and over with at least one chronic disease, those in need of haemodialysis, educators, social security workers, and employees of other areas, who are in population-facing roles.
By 9 February, 70% of healthcare workers in Azerbaijan had received a COVID-19 vaccine. The next group to be vaccinated is people over 65 years of age (https://az.sputniknews.ru/health/20210202/426122403/opros-lekarstva-vakcinacija.html). Those over the age 65 who want to be vaccinated can register at a newly created website – randevu.its.gov.az - from 00:00 on 5 February and choose the nearest medical centre. After registration, they will receive an SMS invitation to get the first dose of vaccine. (https://report.az/en/health/azerbaijan-establishes-new-website-on-coronavirus-vaccination/). From 17 February 2021, people over the age of 50 became eligible for COVID-19 vaccination (https://apa.az/en/social-news/Vaccination-of-people-over-50-and-older-against-COVID-19-to-start-from-tomorrow-in-Azerbaijan-342721) and the COVID-19 vaccination of State Border Service employees had started (https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/3382825.html). By 13 March 2021, the total number of vaccinated people in Azerbaijan was 453,586 (https://koronavirusinfo.az/az/post/700).
The Ministry of Health has allowed clinical studies in Azerbaijan on the joint use of "Sputnik V" and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, which are expected to start late February. [https://apa.az/en/social-news/Azerbaijan-allows-the-application-of-joint-testing-of-two-vaccines-against-COVID-19-342235]
On 3 March 2021, 337,315 residents had been vaccinated (https://apa.az/en/social-news/Number-of-people-vaccinated-in-Azerbaijan-so-far-announced-343954). Azerbaijan will receive 432,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX mechanism. It is assumed that the vaccines will be delivered in May 2021 (https://news.az/news/azerbaijan-to-receive-astra-zeneca-vaccine-through-covax-who). From 22 March, people aged 40 years and over become eligible for vaccination. The vaccination campaign continued through the Nowruz holidays except Sundays (21 and 28 March).
From 10 May, all Azerbaijani residents aged over 18 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Almost 90% of healthcare workers had already been vaccinated and over 1.6 million people had received at least one dose. As of 13 June 2021, almost 2.8 million people had received at least one dose: 1,810,857 had received the first, 964,462 had received the second. The vaccination campaign remains the key priority in the COVID-19 response.
Those who are fully vaccinated are entitled to a COVID passport which are issued either in the form of a vaccination certificate (after receiving two vaccine jabs) or an immune certificate for natural immunity where recovery from COVID-19 is confirmed.