Mingachevir, February 24, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has reviewed the reconstruction work at Mingachevir City Central Hospital.
Minister of Health Ogtay Shiraliyev informed the head of state about the reconstruction work. It was noted that the hospital was built in 1987 and had not been overhauled ever since.
The hospital consists of three main blocks. The 430-bed facility has a delivery room, surgical and therapeutics departments. The hospital is supplied with state-of-the-art medical equipment. All conditions have been created in the wards for patients.
The head of state was told that all infrastructure of the hospital was improved.
President Ilham Aliyev also met with the hospital`s staff.
Saluting the hospital personnel, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- I sincerely congratulate you on the opening of the Mingachevir city hospital after major overhaul. I have toured the hospital and it produces a great impression. The building is well repaired. The highest standards are applied and the most modern equipment is available. The equipment available in most advanced hospitals of the world is also available in Mingachevir now. This pleases me a lot because it shows once again that we have achieved great success in improving the health care system in Azerbaijan. There are all departments, and the Central City Hospital for 430 patients is already in a finished state.
The hospital was built in the 1960s. Of course, over the years it became unusable and the equipment has grown out of date. Today this hospital has been reconstructed at the highest level, and it is very delightful. The working conditions of doctors are also very good and patients will be provided with excellent service.
Modern hospitals have been built and renovated in all regions of the country in recent years. Diagnostic centers have been built. Over the past 11 years we have built, renovated and equipped more than 500 medical institutions. This is evidence of the attention being paid to public health. Public health is a priority issue for our state, and I believe that the implementation of various measures has enabled us to achieve a breakthrough in this issue. First of all, we can already say that all our cities and districts have a modern health infrastructure. The professionalism of doctors is growing. The most complex surgeries are now carried out in Azerbaijan. It was simply irrelevant to talk about this just a few years ago.
The ongoing work towards improving the healthcare system in Azerbaijan is highly valued by international health agencies too. The World Health Organization and the European Region Health Organization appreciate Azerbaijani reforms. At the same time, while attending the opening ceremonies of hospitals and diagnostic centers I have repeatedly noted that our citizens should undergo medical examination from time to time. I say this every time and I want to say it again today. But we saw that the population was showing little interest in that. Therefore, last year we started to conduct medical examinations. Last year more than 5 million people underwent check-ups and this year this figure has already reached 1.5 million. All check-up services are free of charge. There is an objective for people to detect their diseases in good time and, if treatment is required, to receive qualified medical service. If we consider that all regions have modern hospitals now, this should not be too difficult. It only requires a desire, and it is there. Public policy in this area will be conducted in the future too. Social policy, as always, is a priority matter in Azerbaijan. A lot has been done to create the social infrastructure, and the healthcare system is in the foreground.
Of course, the state must have a strong economy to do all this. We have been working in this direction for many years. The development of the Azerbaijani economy and our improving financial status allow us the opportunity to build and create such beautiful hospitals from the state budget. This year our economic indicators are also positive. In January the economy grew by 4.4 per cent and the non-oil economy by 5.5 per cent. This shows that even in the years of crisis taking place in the region and the world the Azerbaijani economy is growing and will continue to grow. A strong economy allows us the opportunity to successfully address social issues and, at the same time, pursue an independent policy on a global scale, in the international arena.
The economy has its own laws. Azerbaijan is a part of the global economy. The work carried out in Azerbaijan is commendable, and influential international financial institutions acknowledge our success. At the same time, the processes occurring in the region affect us in one way or another. The tensions experienced in the CIS and around us in the past year have affected the economy of Azerbaijan to a certain extent. Our main goal is to protect the Azerbaijani people from possible risks, strengthen stability in Azerbaijan and defend the choice of our people. The negative developments unfolding in the Middle East, Europe and the CIS did not have a negative impact on the work done in Azerbaijan because we are already capable of protecting ourselves and our choice. At the same time, the negative processes taking place in the region in the economic sphere, of course, have had an impact on us. The rate of the manat was changed a few days ago. I have to say that we conducted a monetary reform in 2006. That decision was made in 2005. In early 2006 our monetary reform was completed. Naturally, the older generation will remember that one dollar was equal to 5,000 manats earlier. We equated the manat to the dollar, one dollar became equal to one manat, and for 10 years the manat gradually strengthened against the dollar. This, in fact, testified to the success of our economic reforms. However, the events taking place around us and the sharp depreciation of the national currency in neighboring countries started to have a negative impact on us one way or another. In addition, the sharp fall of the oil prices in the world had a negative impact on our revenues. At the same time, a gradual increase in the rate of the manat, of course, had a negative impact on our economic development. Therefore, the decision was made to slightly reduce the rate of the manat. In January, at a conference on the results of socioeconomic development of our regions, I openly expressed my opinion on the matter, so that people could know and be ready for this and so that this didn’t come as a surprise. I said then that the manat had risen too highly, which was having a negative impact on our economy.
The developments occurring in the region and the decline of the oil prices in the world brought about certain difficulties. This was the first signal. After that, our central bank said that the rate of the manat would gradually fall until the end of the year. It was also a signal for people to be ready. But then we saw that there was a certain anxiety. As soon as the rate of the manat was changed, people began to buy dollars in large volumes.
At the same time, some speculators and back-alley people took advantage of this situation to make unreasonable profits. Under such circumstances, our foreign exchange reserves, the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank began to shrink. Let me cite one figure. For a few days at least $500 million were purchased on the market every day, and if things went on like that, foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank could fall sharply by the end of the year. In this case the decision was made to reduce the value of the manat.
In fact, the manat dropped back to its previous level. When the reform began, one manat was equal to one dollar and now one manat is equal to about one dollar too. All relevant structures have been instructed to avoid artificial price hikes. Monitored is conducted, and those who want to artificially inflate prices will face very strict penalties.
In recent years, the staple foods consumed in the country have been produced in Azerbaijan. In this case, there can be no talk of these goods becoming more expensive. If someone artificially inflates prices, they will be punished by the state. Overall, as a result of specific measures, Azerbaijan will continue to undergo a process of successful economic development. The economy is stable, the public and political situation is strong. Equaling the manat to the dollar will allow us the opportunity to spend even more on social issues, so that there are no problems with the state budget and all infrastructure projects necessary for the country are implemented in a timely manner.
While in Mingachevir, of course, I will issue additional instructions related to the development of Mingachevir. This is my fifth visit to Mingachevir. The city is improving, becoming prettier and developing. A great job is being done. Mingachevir will become a major industrial center. The construction of the Mingachevir Industrial Park has already begun. This year we will take serious steps. After Ganja, Sumgayit and, of course, Baku, Mingachevir will be the fourth industrial center in Azerbaijan. Social infrastructure is being created. There is a beautiful hospital, a kindergarten, public areas and parks. Gasification in Mingachevir has risen to 95 per cent. A drinking water project is being implemented, and in 2017 the city will be fully provided with drinking water. This work is now ongoing.
The problems of IDPs are being addressed. I have mentioned the opening of a new beautiful settlement built for the displaced. Tourist opportunities are fairly extensive. Roads are built. There are excellent roads from Ganja, Yevlakh and Baku to Mingachevir. Hotels are created and built. I will review the construction of one of them shortly. So we have a comprehensive approach to the development of Mingachevir, and further measures will be taken to develop the city. Additional funds will be allocated from the Contingency Fund of the President.
The inaugural European Games will also be held in Mingachevir this year. This is also a historic event because the games will be held in two Azerbaijani cities – Baku and Mingachevir. Preparations for the European Games are now in the final stages. The landscaping of Mingachevir and the creation of public areas here will, of course, make a very positive impression on guests.
In short, I see and I want to see Mingachevir as a modern and vibrant city with a strong industrial potential. This process is already underway. I am confident that the further development of the city will go only in a positive direction. I congratulate you on this ongoing work and on your progress, and wish you good health and continued success.
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In conclusion, a picture was taken.