UN independent expert urges Azerbaijan to spend more on health

23 May 2012

A United Nations independent human rights expert today urged the Government of Azerbaijan to raise its expenditure on health to international standards to ensure that the country’s considerable wealth is used to improve the health of its people.

“This is an opportune time to pause and think whether the Government’s investment on people’s health is sufficient to realize the right to health for all,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover, in a news release, at the end of his eight-day visit to Azerbaijan.

His visit came as Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, prepared to host the Eurovision Song Contest this week.

“The people of Azerbaijan deserve nothing less,” said Mr. Grover, referring to the lyrics of the Azerbaijani entry in the Eurovision contest. “The time has come for Azerbaijan to show the same determination and embrace a Healthvision before the music dies.”

Mr. Grover visited Azerbaijan at the invitation of the Government to assess issues related to the realization of the right to health in the country, including specific human rights dimensions of health financing, tuberculosis (TB), and health care in prisons and detention centres.

The Special Rapporteur met with Government officials and representatives of international organizations and civil society. He also visited health facilities, prisons and prison hospitals, and specialized clinics for people suffering from TB and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Working in an unpaid capacity, independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.

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