4. Paying for services
Adequate funding for health is important to manage the excess demands on the health system. This section considers how countries are PAYING FOR COVID-19 SERVICES. Health financing describes how much is spent on health and the distribution of health spending across different service areas. The section also describes who is covered for COVID-19 testing and treatment, whether there are any notable gaps (in population coverage and service coverage), and how much people pay (if at all) for those services out-of-pocket.
4.1 Health financing
The authorities have increased budget spending on public health by AZN 370 million (0.5 percent of GDP). This includes scaling up medical facilities (AZN 250 million) with ten modular hospitals to be built (six of which have been completed) adding 2,000 beds; purchase medical supplies & equipment, payment of allowances/benefits to medical workers (AZN 100 million); and creation of a COVID-19 Response Fund with public and private sector contributions (total AZN 114 million, USD 67 million), with a government transfer of AZN 20 million (USD 11.7 million). Azerbaijan's government has also provided AZN 8.5 million (USD 5 million) to the COVID-19 Fund as part of the WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (https://www.imf.org/en/Topics/imf-and-covid19/Policy-Responses-to-COVID-19).
The official salaries of health workers treating COVID-19 patients has been increased drastically (by 3-5 times) and at the end of August the Cabinet of Ministers extended the duration of extra payments to medical workers treating COVID-19 patients.
Medical staff and volunteers working in private facilities who have been involved in the COVID-19 response were paid 83,000 AZN in bonuses. In accordance with Resolution No. 112 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan (25 March 2020) and the State Agency for Mandatory Health Insurance Order (1 April 2020), 22 medical workers working in private medical institutions involved in the pandemic response were paid overtime and 161 volunteers were paid in proportion to their working hours.
On August 6, the parliament passed a revised 2020 budget which reflected a lower oil price ($35 a barrel) and growth assumptions (-5 percent). The transfer from the Oil Fund was increased by AZN 850 million to offset lower state budget revenues, while budgetary expenditures were increased by AZN 600 million. Overall, the 2020 SB deficit has increased from AZN 2.8 billion to AZN 3.4 billion (4.8 percent of GDP), while the consolidated government deficit increases from AZN 1.9 billion to AZN 8.4 billion (11.9 percent of GDP) (https://www.imf.org/en/Topics/imf-and-covid19/Policy-Responses-to-COVID-19).
The 2021 budget allocated another AzN 261 million (0.3 percent of GDP) for fighting the pandemic. In 2020, about AZN 1.9 billion (USD 1.1 billion) was spent on the fight against COVID-19 - to purchase the necessary medical equipment, medicines, increase the bed capacity, support people under quarantine control and maintain additional modular hospitals.