I congratulate you on the re-opening of the Bilasuvar Central District Hospital after major overhaul. It is an excellent hospital. This hospital, as you know, was built in the 1970s. It needed to be renovated. Some repairs were carried out in it from time to time, but then we decided to conduct major overhaul. Having been familiarized with the hospital now, I see that everything is at the highest level. The facilities, equipment and conditions in the hospital are very good. All the wards are very neat and equipped. This hospital will be one of the model ones. In fact, all medical facilities built or renovated in Azerbaijan in recent years are at this level. This is the Azerbaijani standard because Azerbaijani citizens should be provided with the best medical services.
At the same time, this hospital is a place of work for doctors. Now their place of work is in excellent condition. You are aware of the previous state of the hospital, so I won’t talk about that. Most importantly, the Bilasuvar Central District Hospital meets all standards now.
In this region and indeed all regions of our country, either new hospitals are built or the available ones are repaired or overhauled. Over the past 13 years, we have renovated and built more than 600 medical institutions. This is a very great success, a great achievement and result for the development of our healthcare system. In Baku, we have built and renovated the major hospitals.
Today, work on strengthening the material and technical infrastructure of public health is almost over. In several districts, work is still in progress, including a hospital that will be put into operation in Masalli in the near future. Now the main issue is to provide people with quality services and take good care of them. Work is under way in this direction too. I am sure that doctors capable of working with the latest equipment have gained the experience necessary to serve patients well.
Health is very important for every individual and state. There are several factors contributing to human health. Foremost among them, of course, is healthcare. Along with this, of course, a role is played by a healthy lifestyle, the environment, physical activity and healthy food. However, medical examination and treatment have a special place. You are well aware that all regions of Azerbaijan have been conducting diagnostic work and implementing a program of medical examination for several years. Millions of people undergo free examination every year, which helps them identify their health problems and then receive treatment.
I touched upon this issue in all hospitals I inaugurated in the last 13 years. I want to say again that every citizen should be diagnosed every year, especially in the present circumstances when such opportunities are available: blood tests, ultrasound scans and X-rays. On the recommendation of doctors, every citizen should take good care of himself. This is, first of all, good for people themselves. On the other hand, the people of Azerbaijan should be even healthier, especially our veterans, children and the younger generation. All people should be healthy. This is why hospitals are being built.
As I mentioned, in recent years we have put into operation more than 600 medical institutions. We spent a lot of public funds on this. We are doing this because the social sphere, as always, is our priority. This is the case today and will be the case tomorrow. After all, we are trying for the people. Our policy is centered on citizens of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, of course, if there is no economic development, it is impossible to do this work. There are many countries and governments that would also like to do such wonderful things, but can’t afford that. We have also seen times when we wanted to do that but did not have the capacity. We have created this opportunity now. Today, the economically strong Azerbaijan allocates huge funds for these areas. And not only for these, but also for all other spheres – infrastructure and social infrastructure projects, construction of schools, sport centers, etc.
We can see this in the example of Bilasuvar District. Three years ago, I participated in the launch of a drinking water project in Bilasuvar. Now the population of the city is supplied with drinking water around the clock. The gasification of Bilasuvar District has been completed. All settlements have gas supply. All 25 villages of Bilasuvar District have gas now. So gasification has reached 100 per cent. In the country, we have not yet reached the level of 100 per cent. We are approaching this. In Bilasuvar, we are already seeing that. We have implemented three major rural road projects. The roads leading to most villages have been landscaped. The Baku-Astara-Iranian border highway is under construction, the Olympic center and other enterprises are being built.
Of course, a lot of work related to agriculture is being done. There are factories here. This is also very important. In recent years, great support has been provided for cotton growing, which is received well by the people. As a result of the hard work of great leader Heydar Aliyev in the 1970-1980s, cotton-growing in Azerbaijan acquired large proportions. People got great material possibilities. Unfortunately, this industry gradually slid into recession. Now we are reviving it. According to my information, cotton has been sown on 6,000 hectares in Bilasuvar District this year. Last year, the figure was 2,000 hectares. In Soviet times, we sowed 14,000 hectares. We plan to sow 10,000 hectares next year. We are doing this thanks to the measures taken in a short period of time, and this means more jobs. If we have two people working on a hectare, this means that 20,000 will be provided with jobs in the future.
It is necessary to develop other branches of agriculture as well. Processing industry – we already have several processing plants here. This work should be sped up. Now we create better conditions for business development and carry out reforms. Entrepreneurs are very positive about that. Investments are growing and encouragement mechanisms are in place. Our export potential is expanding.
We should do all this to eliminate the dependence on oil. As we implement these projects, of course, we will have more financial resources. We will channel these financial opportunities into social projects – the construction of hospitals, schools, roads, problems of IDPs. Bilasuvar District is home to thousands of internally displaced persons. Their problems are and will be addressed. So our country will develop successfully. The development of our regions will reinforce the country, and we should always rely only on domestic resources.
In general, we do not get help from anywhere and don’t think it is necessary. Therefore, we must increase domestic resources. This is the policy of the Azerbaijani state. We have huge potential. We simply need to use this potential by 100 per cent. We should develop industry, agriculture, investment, entrepreneurship and transparency.
Today we celebrated the opening of an “ASAN xidmət” center in Masalli. This center will serve this region as well. In the future, such centers will be opened in other districts. So we are talking about all-round development.
I am sure that Bilasuvar District will continue to develop fast. Great creative and landscaping work is done in the district. The appearance of the district is improving. I have old friends in the district. I greet them as well. I remember going to Lankaran in 2000 and seeing this man on the road. He greeted me with a flag. At that time, our Olympians achieved great results. I stopped the car, we met and have been friends ever since.