Why Cardiovascular Disease Mortality is Alarmingly High in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, a nation known for its rich cultural heritage and economic potential, finds itself grappling with a critical public health crisis: a high mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). According to a report by World Statistics, Azerbaijan ranks second globally in CVD mortality, with 388 deaths per 100,000 people, closely following Tajikistan's 389. This alarming statistic places Azerbaijan ahead of countries like Uzbekistan (354 deaths), Ukraine (305 deaths), and Belarus (282 deaths), while Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Turkey rank significantly lower.

In stark contrast, nations like Japan, France, and South Korea, known for their advanced healthcare systems and preventive measures, occupy the lower end of the mortality spectrum. The statistics from Azerbaijan’s State Statistics Committee (SCC) further underscore the severity of the issue, reporting that approximately 15,000 people die annually in Baku alone, with cardiovascular diseases accounting for about 8,000 of these deaths. This surpasses cancer, the second leading cause of death in the capital, which claims around 2,000 lives annually.

Dr. Aydin Aliyev, a prominent health expert, delves into the underlying reasons for the high prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in Azerbaijan during his appearance on the "Difficult Question" program. He highlights several critical issues contributing to the country's alarming CVD mortality rate.

Firstly, Dr. Aliyev points out that the World Statistics report relies heavily on data from the Global Cardiology Society (GCS), which, in Azerbaijan’s case, may not fully reflect the reality. A significant problem lies in the accuracy of death certificates. Often, cardiovascular diseases are listed as the cause of death without thorough autopsies to confirm the diagnosis. This practice leads to inflated statistics, making it challenging to gauge the true extent of the problem.

Moreover, Dr. Aliyev emphasizes the importance of understanding the percentage of autopsies conducted in cases of CVD-related deaths. Accurate autopsy data is crucial for creating a reliable database that can inform health policies and system management. The lack of precise statistics hampers efforts to develop effective strategies to combat CVDs.

Another critical aspect Dr. Aliyev discusses is the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the principles of medical statistics in Azerbaijan. He argues for meticulous recording of various factors such as the time taken for an ambulance to reach a patient, the duration of patient consultations in clinics, and the overall efficiency of medical services. These metrics are essential for a robust healthcare system that can respond effectively to CVD emergencies and manage patient care efficiently.

"Without high-quality statistics and data analysis, it will not be possible to restore order in the healthcare system and create high-quality management," asserts Dr. Aliyev. His call for improved data collection and analysis resonates deeply, as the current statistical deficiencies obstruct the formulation of effective health policies.

The high mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases in Azerbaijan can also be attributed to several socio-economic and lifestyle factors. Poor dietary habits, lack of regular physical activity, high stress levels, and inadequate access to healthcare services contribute significantly to the prevalence of CVDs. Additionally, the healthcare system itself faces challenges such as insufficient funding, lack of advanced medical equipment, and a shortage of trained medical professionals.

Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach. The government must invest in healthcare infrastructure, enhance medical training programs, and promote public awareness about the importance of healthy lifestyles. Implementing comprehensive screening programs for early detection of cardiovascular conditions can also play a pivotal role in reducing mortality rates. As Dr. Aliyev aptly notes, "The accurate diagnosis of the causes of death is necessary to create a database." Without these measures, the path to a healthier Azerbaijan remains fraught with challenges.

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