President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated Naftalan City Central Hospital VIDEO

Naftalan, June 5, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of Naftalan City Central Hospital.

The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the hospital.

Minister of Health Ogtay Shiraliyev informed the President of the conditions created in the hospital.

The construction of a 60-bed hospital started in 2015 and ended this May. The hospital occupies a total area of 1.2 hectares. The hospital was supplied with the state-of-the-art medical equipment and devices.

President Ilham Aliyev then met with representatives of the general public of the city of Naftalan and posed for photographs together with them.

The head of state addressed the event.

Speech of President Ilham Aliyev

- My greetings! I congratulate you on the opening of the Naftalan City Hospital. It is a great hospital. I have just been familiarized with it. I can see that all work has been organized at a high level. I am very glad that this hospital is being put into operation. The construction of this hospital was carried out on my initiative. The city of Naftalan should have a modern medical facility, and I am glad that we have achieved that. It has a beautiful appearance and internal design, and the conditions are good, of course. All the necessary equipment is available. The highest standards are applied. Such fine hospitals are built across our country. All the conditions for the provision of high-quality medical services are available here. There are 12 departments. All of them will operate. Both local residents and visitors to Naftalan will be provided with a high level of service.

The construction of this hospital is a testament to the attention being paid to public health and the resources being invested in it in recent years. A lot of work has been done to strengthen the healthcare system. Over the past 15 years, more than 600 medical institutions have been created, rebuilt or overhauled. We have succeeded in creating modern medical centers throughout our country.

The State Investment Program for this year envisages the opening of six city hospitals. The first of them is the Naftalan hospital. I do hope that hospitals will be opened in the other five cities before the end of the year. Therefore, state-of-the-art medical centers will be established in all the cities of Azerbaijan. This was one of the tasks we set several years ago. We have consistently worked towards achieving this goal.

Of course, these projects require major financial resources. The Azerbaijani state is quite strong economically, and our power is growing. Social issues are the top priority of our policy. We have the opportunities, political will and technical capacity. A lot of work has been done to strengthen the material and technical infrastructure of the entire healthcare system.

The level of medical care in Azerbaijan is increasing. A large-scale program of medical checkups has been carried out on my initiative for several years now. I have repeatedly expressed my thoughts on this issue in previous years, saying that everyone should undergo medical examination at least once a year. Today, there are possibilities for that in every district. The state supports and organizes this work. This year, as in the past, more than 5 million citizens of Azerbaijan took advantage of this opportunity. The diseases detected during the checkups are then treated in specialized centers.

The application of a system of compulsory medical insurance has begun. This system already operates in two cities, and we are seeing its advantages. We will gradually develop our healthcare system in this direction. In the coming years, this system will cover new cities.

Health is one of the most important issues. Comprehensive work is carried out in Azerbaijan to protect public health and take prophylactic measures. There are good conditions for continuing this work, including the city of Naftalan. The hospital is also a place of work for the doctors. I believe that it is a special privilege for any doctor and any medical professional to work in such conditions.

The overall development of Naftalan is well under way. I first visited Naftalan as President 10 years ago. Frankly speaking, the picture I saw back then made me very unhappy. I was very upset because the city was in a difficult situation. You are well aware of that. At that time, there were major problems related to infrastructure projects, electricity was supplied intermittently, there were no natural gas and drinking water, residential buildings were in disrepair, roads were run down, the sanatoria built in Soviet times were in poor condition and accommodated the IDPs. Naftalan, which used to be one of the tourist centers of the Soviet Union, had practically lost this title. No-one was coming here not only from other countries, but even from Azerbaijan itself. Therefore, I issued immediate instructions for comprehensive measures to be taken. A plan of comprehensive development of Naftalan was prepared and I approved it. Today, we see real results of the work done. First of all, we had to relocate the IDPs settled in difficult conditions in dilapidated sanatoria, and we did that. All the internally displaced people were moved to new homes built with major financial resources, and the problem of IDPs in the city of Naftalan was resolved.

The implementation of infrastructure projects started. Power supply was provided. There are no problems with that today. Naftalan is fully supplied with natural gas now. One hundred per cent of the population has natural gas. I participated in the launch of a drinking water project in Naftalan. Roads were built, other infrastructure projects implemented and schools overhauled. In other words, all the issues related to infrastructure projects in Naftalan were comprehensively resolved. In particular, funds were allocated for landscaping the city, parks were set up, a new building of the executive authority was built, the Heydar Aliyev Center was established, and Naftalan was restored to its former glory.

That was the first stage of the work. There could be no talk of development without the implementation of these projects. In parallel, we began to take tangible steps to turn Naftalan into a modern tourist center. With my participation, three large sanatoria were rebuilt, repaired and put into operation. They are considered to be hotels today: first, the "Chinar" sanatorium, then "Gashalty" and then "Garabagh". These three hotel sanatoria have more than a thousand rooms. Medical work is conducted at the highest level here. At the same time, our people and visitors can relax. The opening of a new hotel is expected in the near future. I have just been informed about that. Smaller centers and recreation areas are also being set up. So Naftalan is becoming one of the unique tourism centers not only of our country but also of the whole world.

I have been informed that 35,000 people from 62 countries visited Naftalan last year. Notice that there could be no talk of any visitors 10 years ago, but 35,000 people came here last year. I think that this is only a beginning because, according to the information available to me, 70,000 visitors came to Naftalan every year in Soviet times. I think that given the rapid development of tourism in Azerbaijan, we can achieve this goal. The number of tourists increased by 22 per cent in 2016, by 20 per cent in 2017 and by a further 10 per cent in the five months of this year. Azerbaijan is known as a wonderful travel destination in the world these days. We also have all the possibilities for the development of health tourism both in Naftalan and in other cities. The number of visitors to a city possessing such conditions should increase, of course.

The work done in Naftalan over the past 10 years demonstrates the general momentum of our development. It shows that where there is a strong will, there will be success, results and victories. People will live even better in a country pursuing a thought-out policy. Job creation in Naftalan has been progressing at a high pace in recent years. The overwhelming majority of people living here work in the service sector, receive a good salary and make a valuable contribution to the development of our country. I am sure that things in Naftalan will go well from now on and the city will continue to develop successfully.

I congratulate you on this remarkable event again.

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