The free and public healthcare system in Azerbaijan is overseen and regulated by the Ministry of Health, a governmental agency within the country’s cabinet. Many studies have proven that the public health system in Azerbaijan is unorganized, inefficient and under-financed. This can be seen in the facilities and quality of care available in the free hospitals throughout the country. The country is however reforming the system and it is likely to improve it in the next few years. Most expats living in Azerbaijan choose to purchase international medical insurance that will cover the cost of a private hospital. The country’s private medical facilities are of a much higher quality, but unfortunately not so common. These private clinics, hospitals and health centers are well equipped with modern equipment and highly qualified staff and are capable of handling medical emergencies and long-term illnesses.
The education system of Azerbaijan is regulated by the Ministry of Education. The school system is free to use and mandatory for children of six years of age and over. General schooling is divided into three tiers: primary, general secondary and full secondary. Public schools in Azerbaijan are of an adequate standard, with a good range of educational facilities and qualified teachers.
A large number of expats relocating to the country enroll their children at one of the extremely high quality private international schools. The two best examples are the International School of Azerbaijan and the British School of Baku. These institutions teach a multilingual range of students by following a curriculum and calendar based on the European system, and award graduates with the worldwide recognized accreditation, International Baccalaureate.
In addition to these schools, there are 37 state run and 15 private universities in Azerbaijan. The country’s higher education facilities are successful, and there are currently more than 100,000 students enrolled in university nationwide.
The level of serious crime in Azerbaijan is low, however there is a high rate of petty crimes, such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching. It is advisable to avoid dark parts of the city center of the capital city, Baku, as muggings and robberies occasionally occur in this district.
Foreigners should take extra precautions to keep their valuable belongings out of sight when walking around central Baku or more isolated, rural villages in the west of the country, such as Gabaran and Ebrahim.
Women in particular should avoid walking alone in the evenings, as female foreigners may be at a higher risk of assault. In case of urgent situations, the emergency number for the police is 102.