Qanira Pasayeva, a graduate of Azerbaijani State Medical University in pediatrics, believes that doctors should be punished for malpractice in order to set an example to others. In 2005, she became the Head of Public Relations for the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which also has public health projects including a new hospital in Ujar province. In 2005, Pasayeva was also elected to parliament, representing Tovuz, her hometown. She is a member of the Standing Commission of the National Assembly on inter-parliamentary relations with Georgia, Turkey, India and Japan. She is also a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
While attending an event at the US Embassy in Azerbaijan in anticipation of American Independence Day (July 4
), she gave an interview to Meydan TV. She referred to recent problems within the healthcare system: “Doctors who make mistakes should be punished severely. These people should not be allowed to call themselves doctors. They should be punished to set an example to others because every doctor must understand the concept of accountability.”
Pasayeva was referring to the now infamous doctor at the Ministry of Health of Angiology and Microsurgery, Valeh Kerimov, who amputated the wrong leg of an 87-year-old lady. “I said his explanation wasn’t acceptable. Surely, when this happens, they must be punished to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Pasayeva said. “I don’t think anyone could defend this case because you, I, or anyone else could have been this patient. Because of this, those who are truly unable to do their jobs or who don’t understand the gravity of their responsibilities and cause injury must be fired. There is no doubt about it or any other stance to take,” she summarized.
The Parliamentarian also answered questions regarding the activities of healthcare – related NGOs in the country. Ms. Pasayeva responded to NGO management’s complaints of changes in the law which has created obstacles to their operations. Ms. Pasayeva believes the government and NGOs can resolve these complaints. “I think we can resolve any problem or conflict with NGOs. If NGOs haven’t done anything contrary to the government, we can talk with these organizations. Sometimes information about them has been drawn to our attention, but we have to determine whether these are serious or minor issues.”
According to the World Bank, Azerbaijan’s annual health expenditure is just 1.2% of its GDP of $75.2 billion. Its expenditure on health care is one of the lowest in the world. To put it into perspective, the UN’s list of least developed countries had an expenditure of 1.8%. Other countries who had similarly low expenditures for healthcare include India, Haiti, Myanmar, Nigeria and South Sudan.