Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan

Background information:Country contextAzerbaijan is the largest of the three Transcaucasia republics of the former Soviet Union (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia). Total length of the Azerbaijan frontier is 2,013 km. The territory of Azerbaijan is 86,600 sq kilometers. It is located on the west edge of the Caspian Sea and is bordered by the Russian Federation (specifically Dagestan) to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is situated within the borders of Azerbaijan. The Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, located between Iran and Armenia, also belongs to Azerbaijan. The population is more than eight million and the majority lives in cities and towns (two millions live in capital Baku). The biggest group within the Azerbaijan population is of Azeri origins (91%). The rest are Russian, Lezghins, Georgians, Tatars, Kurds and Jews.Several reforms in different sectors including health have had a positive impact on poverty levels, stabilizing the economic situation for many and reducing vulnerability towards diseases. However, tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious public health threat in Azerbaijan. Incidence, prevalence and mortality rates are among the highest in the WHO European Region. While the directly-observed treatment of TB (DOTS) coverage is now reported  as 100%, the DOTS new case detection rate increased from 29% in 2003 to 46 % in 2007, though it reached 55% in 2005. The DOTS new case  treatment success rate fell from 70% in 2003 to 60% in 2006. Poor adherence to drug regimens and interrupted treatment of TB, have resulted in the emergence of MDR-TB[1] strains which require especially lengthy and complex treatment and represent a serious obstacle to effective TB control. According to the WHO Global TB Control Report 2009, Azerbaijan recorded the highest percentage of MDR-TB patients among new cases in the world in 2007; nearly a quarter of all new TB cases (22.3%) were reported as MDR-TB, and MDR-TB among previously-treated TB cases was 56%. MDR-TB patients account for 50 to 60% of the TB mortality rate among TB patients in prisons. There are currently over 100 MDR-TB patients in the prison TB facility. According to the WHO report, the total number of MDR-TB patients in Azerbaijan in 2007 was estimated to be 3,916.Since 1987 the Republic AIDS Control Centre registered 2,427 HIV infected persons out of which almost 83.7 per cent were men; 308 people already died. 64.4 per cent is consists injecting drug use, 23. 2 per cent-heterosexual contact, 0.7 per cent- homosexual contact, 0.9 per cent accounts for mother to child transmission, 0.05 per cent is transmission via blood transfusion and 10.8% is impossible to determinate. There were also other detected infections in 2,138 Azerbaijan citizens who were HIV positive: hepatitis C – 1215 persons (65.0 %), hepatitis B – 194 person (10,4 %), tuberculosis – 324 persons (17,3 %), syphilis – 137 persons (7.3 %).  According to official statistics, nearly 25, 000 drug addicts have been recorded in Azerbaijan in 2010, about 6 000 of them youth.Executive SummaryThe Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (AzRC) was founded on March 10, 1920 by initiative of Deputy Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, general-lieutenant Aliaga Shikhlinski. New circumstances that appeared after the collapse of the former USSR were requiring from the National Society more flexibility and new working methods.His spouse Nigar Shikhlinskaya was a nurse, she cared for the wounded soldiers in the hospitals during the World War I and became a founder of Mercy service of the AzRC.From 1923 to 1991 the Alliance of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the USSR absorbed the AzRC. Mercy nurses courses organized by the AzRC during the World War II should be particularly noted. The graduates of these courses saved the lives of thousands of combatants in the battlefields. Two nurses, namely Sariya Talishkhanova and Rashida Gasimzade were awarded for their heroisms with the Florence Nightingale medal a high award of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.In March 1992 following the appeal of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opened its Delegation in the Republic.In May 1993 the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) opened its Delegation in the Republic.On November 26 1994 by the decree of the National Parliament of Azerbaijan Republic the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society was recognized as the single official humanitarian organization in the Republic being a part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.On November 1, 1995 the International Committee of the Red Cross officially recognized the AzRC.On November 27, 1995 the AzRC was admitted into the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as a full member.In March 12 2003 the General Assembly of the AzRC was held and new Statutes were adopted.In September 2003 the Cabinet of Ministry of Azerbaijan Republic signed decree on activities of AzRC.In January 2004 Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic signed decree on government support to Azerbaijan Red Crescent SocietyThe Society has regional centers, which were established in 1998 in Baku, Sumgait, Lankaran, Sabirabad, Ganja, Mingechevir and Nakhchivan. Now AzRC has 7 regional centers (Baku, Sumgait, Lankaran, Sabirabad, Ganja, Mingechevir and Garabakh), Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Local Committee and its branches, 83 local committees, and Neft Dashlari and AzerPocht local committees. The Society has more than 180.000 members and 17.000 volunteers.The AzRC implements “Dissemination of the basics of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and knowledge of Movement” and “Tracing” programs with finance support from the ICRC. The National Society also implements “Disaster Preparedness and Response”, “First Aid”, “Health and Care”, “HIV and AIDS”, “Blood Donor Recruitment”, “MDR TB”, “Harm reduction”, “Humanitarian Values”, “Population Movement”, “Youth and Volunteers”, “Branch Development” and “Organizational Development” programs/projects through support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and bilaterally with PNSs.It should be mentioned that HIV/AIDS started since 2001 as pilot with financial support of Swedish Red Cross later continued with support of Netherlands and Norwegian Red Crosses was initiated to provide young people with knowledge on HIV and AIDS according to age groups, to help young people to take clever decisions, to develop health related behaviors in order to prevent HIV and AIDS. As example in 2010 AzRC trained, refreshed knowledge of  71 people;  organized share experience visits among regions. A total of 38 people including people living with AIDS and volunteers of the Red Crescent participated in 2 picnics. During the year more than 5500 people participated in campaigns devoted to “1 December- World AIDS Fighting Day”. The program of these campaigns included: to inform population about the ways of prevention from HIV and AIDS, to eliminate HIV stigma and discrimination against people living with AIDS, distribution of preservatives and booklets on HIV and AIDS. Only during 2010 39535 people were reached through HIV and AIDS sessions; 1400 copies of a booklet on “Youth against AIDS” were printed and 1900 condoms were distributed.Another Harm Reduction project started since 2010 as pilot with financial support of Italian Red Cross also continues and was initiated to promote the healthy life and dignity of those impacted by drug use; it also aims at reducing harm caused by drug-abusing. With the priority on public health, it is an application strategy aiming at reducing harm to both individual and society at large. The target groups are drug users within the community.TB control is one of the priorities of the AzRC. TB program has been implemented since 2005 when the focus was on monitoring treatment adherence among ex-prisoners who needed to continue with DOTS TB that had been started while they were in prison. The project was carried out in close collaboration with the ICRC and the Ministry of Justice according to a list of released prisoners provided by the Ministry. Subsequently, the AzRC started to work with the civilian population and focused on assisting TB dispensary staff to identify and register TB patients. Since August 2010 till this time the project goes with financial support of Eli Lilly and Company Foundation to provide home-based, direct observation of treatment (DOTS+) for 20 most-vulnerable, continuation-phase MDR-TB patients according to international protocols, and to underpin this up with psychological, social and educational support for patients and their families. IFRC has provided technical and coordination support from the Europe Zone office in Budapest, headquarters in Geneva and Country Office.

Mapping of National Society ActivitiesHIV and AIDSHarm ReductionTuberculosis
PreventionIn accordance with the Strategic Plan of the AzRC for the years 2008-2010 “Health and Care” department conducted health promotion activities on AIDS among the population and activities towards reducing of stigma against the people living with AIDS.During the reporting period within HIV and AIDS program 48 peer to peer trainers were trained. These trainers are active volunteers of Sabirabad, Lenkeran and Mingechevir Regional Centers. During the year 39535 people were educated on HIV and AIDS and the ways of prevention from infectious diseases. 1 training session and one round table discussion were held for 14 trainers to refresh their knowledge. 2 trainings on experience sharing for 54 trainers were conducted in Sabirabad and Lenkaran cities. Also, during the year 4 regional campaigns on different topics (1 December AIDS Fighting Day, HIV stigma and discrimination, distribution of booklets and preservatives) were conducted among the population and target groups. The conducted campaigns were of regional nature. The volunteers from local branches covered by Regional Centers participated during these campaigns. More than 5500 people participated during these campaigns. The representatives of non-governmental organizations working in the country participated actively during the campaign. During the year 2010, 2 picnics for the Red Crescent volunteers and people living with AIDS were organized. A total of 38 participated in 2 picnics.On December 3, 2010 the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society with organizational support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism conducted an event devoted to “World AIDS Fighting Day” in the International Mugam Center. During the event, it was noted that in 1988 the World Health Organization proposed to celebrate annually “AIDS Fighting Day”. The purpose was to attract attention of people to AIDS problem and to bring to the attention of the world community that on how global is AIDS problem. During the event the participants were informed on AIDS disease and the ways of protection from HIV and AIDS. The speakers noted that Azerbaijan is among the countries where HIV infecting level is low. However, conducting of health promotion activities among the population and the groups of risky behavior is important. The official part of the event was followed with a wide concert program.On 8 December 2010, within the framework of information campaign devoted to “World AIDS Fighting Day” a peaceful march of volunteers in streets was organized in Sumgayit city. Sumgayit local branch of the AzRC organized this peaceful march together with Sumgayit Youth and Sport Office. On that day the volunteers of the Red Crescent marched through the streets with the slogan “Youth against AIDS” in their hands. Young people, sportsmen, students and pupils also participated in the event. With red ribbon – an emblem of AIDS Fighting on their breasts they marched through the streets of Sumgayit city holding transparencies, posters, slogans in their hands. The participants of a peaceful march distributed booklets, manuals and other information materials on the ways of protection from AIDS to pedestrians. This peaceful march ended near “The dove of Peace” monument in Sumgayit city.  On that day the participants of a peaceful march held a round-table dispute. During the dispute, the issues concerning participation of young people of Sumgayit city in the arrangements on fighting against HIV infection and AIDS were discussed. The participants of the dispute noted an importance of increasing of public support to HIV and AIDS prevention programs, providing information on all aspects of this problem, strengthening of control in public places where a risk of infecting with HIV and AIDS is high.In general, the program of trainings and sessions included: history of HIV and AIDS and statistical information about the spread of HIV and AIDS in the world, definition of HIV and AIDS, human immune system, symptoms of HIV infection, the ways of transmission of HIV and AIDS, the ways of protection from HIV and AIDS, an impact of HIV and AIDS on immune system of human beings. A video clip “Protect yourself” shot by the Red Crescent was screened. Then the participants of training sessions were divided into groups and played interactive games. The results of these interactive games were discussed in the groups. The participants demonstrated in their drawings the ways of transmission of AIDS and the ways of protection from AIDS. Presentations of these drawings were held. The themes discussed during the training sessions were also included: the International AIDS Fighting Day, the red ribbon–an emblem of AIDS, people living with AIDS and reducing discrimination against these people, situation related with HIV and AIDS disease in Azerbaijan, official and non-official statistical information about HIV and AIDS infected people in Azerbaijan. At the end of the training the results of the training were evaluated.With support of local authorities NS conducted preliminary assessment of situation with drug users in selected 6 regions (Ismayilli, Imishli, Agdam, Fizuli, Barda, Lenkoran). It should be mentioned that NS has strong contacts with representatives of local authorities due to frequent official correspondence, face to face meetings, participation at joint events and they supported branches to implement the project activities on local level. Local authorities created an opportunity to receive from local polyclinics the list of drug users within particular region. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between AzRC and Ministry of Health had its supportive influence and helped to facilitate the process as well.In October 2010 NS conducted workshop onProject induction at Lenkoran RC: branch staff and volunteers from all six regions gathered at Lankaran RC were introduced with the aim of the project and planned activities for period October 2010–September 2011.Module for work with drug users was designed with participation of 16 staff and volunteers of the AzRC Lankaran regional center’s branches during the project induction course held in October 2010. The materials used during development: - Overview of Harm Reduction and Sterile Syringe Access-Material Take charge Take care- 10 Tips for Safer use;-Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV/AIDS;The other training on How to approach the drug users as a part of Module for work with drug users was conducted in November 2010 for 19 staff and volunteers of the AzRC Lankaran regional center’s branches. The training itself included:1)      explanation skills on approaching services/ institutions working directly with drug uses and drug users themselves;2)      methodology on how to reach structures working with drug users and drug users themselves- ;3)       what tools might be used for this- meetings, round table discussions, training sessions,  official correspondence, personal contacts, phone calls and which psychological aspects must be taken into account when working with both groups- correct and clear messages towards decision makers and drug users.The developed module was already implemented within the communities of the following branches:-Agsaqqallar community (was selected as pilot community) of Lenkoran local branch in March 2011. 20 people were participating at this event;-Istisu community (was selected as pilot community) of Ismailli local branch in April 2011. 25 people were participating at this event.-Muradxanli community (was selected as pilot community) of Imishli local branch in April 2011. 20 people were participating at this event.Six staff of local branches at Ismayilli, Imishli, Agdam, Fizuli, Barda, Lenkoran have been trained by Harm Reduction project coordinator and IFRC Head of Country Office on monitoring and evaluation skills. The tools used during the training Questionnaire on Monitoring and Evaluation of the activities within project, IFRC framework for Evaluation, PMER tolls and guidelines.PR events on Harm reduction with active participation of drug users (they distributed issued brochures and gave some explanations on harm of drugs) and AzRC local branch volunteers from all six regions were held in period between December 2010-February 2011 in Lenkoran, Ismayilli and Imishli. The total number of participants covered during events was more than 2,500.During the period between October 2010 – May 2011, 3000 items of printing materials on drug using were typed and distributed among the community members in times of held PR events, training sessions, meetings with local authorities and local health institutions.2 articles were published in local newspaper named “Yeni Tefekkur (New Way of Thinking)” on the project activities. Also there were highlights made by AzRC HQs Information/Communication department and placed on AzRC webpage May 2011 NS held training in Ismayilli for 20 branch volunteers from three regions in dissemination of information and public awareness on the issues of drug using.Project sites have been selected in consultation with the NTCP based on MDR-TB burden, gaps in existing TB control activities and the strong presence of the AzRC.AzRC has followed up a group of 20 ‘most-vulnerable’ patients who were identified as being at high risk of defaulting on treatment. These most-vulnerable patients has been included people with very low incomes, people caring for many children, people living with multiple health problems and had disabilities, alcohol and drug addicts, former prisoners.  AzRC CN, psychologist and other project team members delivered care, support and treatment adherence monitoring to these patients ‘beyond the dispensary door’.There were slight changes in implementation process, thus instead of three districts planned to be covered (Binagadi, Jasamal, Nizami,), NS has implemented project in four. Azizbekov (new name Hazar district) was included in consultation with NTCP as there are a big number of MDR TB cases there. From each district was taken one nurse who covered five patients.  Each nurse paid visits six times in a week controlling daily drug taking and followed patients for monthly check up at the dispensaries.Thus NS covered all 20 patients: till the end of the project the rest eight MDR-TB patients were sent to continue their treatment at hospital due to health condition at the beginning of the year. Thus NS continued to control  treatment of the 12 patients left from last year andthe total number (20 in whole) covered since the end of May.An AzRC psychologist trained CN to provide psychological support for these vulnerable patients during their long course of treatment. Regularly CN and psychologist had meetings and discussed difficult cases, thus the psychologist could follow up during visits to each location.The AzRC TB Program Coordinator/Field Coordinator jointly held monitoring visits to keep an eye on implementation progress reveal challenges and give recommendations. Several times the visits were accompanied by psychologist.The AzRC has carried out survey among CN and patients. The survey revealed that patients positively accepting nurse visit, encouraged continuing treatment, changed their attitude towards treatment. The patients also shared with needs and difficulties such as unemployment, necessity for monthly food provision and side effects from drugs. The nurses in their turn underlined that as he distances between patients were long the allocated transport expenses were not enough, thus they spend more than it was previously planned.  The patients also underlined the necessity of having regularly visits of psychologist, in individual/private manner, thus in case of continuation of the project these moments will be taken into account.It should be mentioned that the work of the NS was highly appreciated by NTCP, thus the necessity to continue so far carried out activities was underlined as results available. It was also suggested to expand the number of districts within Baku and include several regions.AzRC nurses were involved into the survey named KAP as part of joint survey team (KAP or knowledge, attitude and practice) carried out among MDR TB patients by initiative of USAID/Abt Associates and Public Health Reform Center (PHRC). The purpose is to found out the level of adherence towards treatment from different aspects. Soon the results of survey will be highlighted.
Partners/ NetworkingERNA, Norwegian Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Neitherlands Red Cross, IFRCERNA, Italian Red Cross, Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), WHO, IFRCElli Lily, National TB programme, WHO, ICRC, IFRC.
Best practicesEstablished close relationships with target/marginalized groups. AzRC made efforts to gradually integrate them into the society through picnics, round table discussions, summer camps.Drug users agreed to be part of the project. Local authorities were actively involved in the implementation process and created all necessary conditions to meet people in charge of the issue. The practice has shown the importance of the training held by psychologist to  CN as not always it was easy to explain patients’ the importance of treatment or convince not to give up though the treatment is difficult, takes time and secondary effects from medicines might occur. Regularly CN and psychologist had meetings and discussed difficult cases, thus the psychologist could follow up during visits to each location.
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Contact person(s)Shaban ShayevCoordinator of HIV /AIDS and HR projects shaban.shayev@redcrescent.azShaban ShayevCoordinator of HIV /AIDS and HR projectsshaban.shayev@redcrescent.azLeyla AlekberovaCoordinator of TB
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HIV/AIDS, TB activities of Azerbaijan Red Crescent SocietyIn Health and care programme the Azerbaijan Red Crescent  Society  (AzRCS) reached people through training sessions, healthy life style promotion and awareness, visits to people living with Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB) and events like picnics, summer camps with participation of people living with HIV (PLHIV), drug users.During the recent years the Azerbaijan Red Crescent  Society Health and Care Department  provide young people within knowledge on HIV/AIDS according to age groups, to help young people to take clever decisions, to develop health related behaviors in order to prevent HIV/AIDS.102 peer educators volunteers from Sabirabad, Lenkoran and Mingachevir Regional Centers of the AzRCS  who have been trained in the history of the HIV virus, statistics, terminology, general information on the immune system, symptoms, who may be infected, ways of infection and its effects on the human body. During year they  refreshed their knowledge at the experience-sharing meeting. The peer educators  trained by Azerbaijan Red Crescent have organised awareness sessions, round-table discussions and campaigns to spread the knowledge among schoolchildren, youth, university students and in their respective communities and reached an estimated number of 19,767 people in different institutions and communities.National Society printed 1,400 educational brochures with guidelines on protection as well as posters that were and will be distributed during different events like workshop sessions, round table discussions, marking of the World AIDS Day, visits to meetings and conferences abroad, to local/ international organizations, government structures as well as general public. It is tradition when every year the Sumgayit Branch employers, youth and volunteers are conducting recruiting and attracting campaign with  people of the Sumgayit is one of the the big city of Azerbaijan and organized marsh devoted by 1 December World Aids Day.

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Tuberculosis prevention activities have an important place among other health and care activities of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society which acts as auxiliary to its government. Along with organizing of a large-scale health promotion activities on tuberculosis among population the AzRC provides care and assistance to TB ill patient. Thus, starting August 2010 the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society supported by Eli Lilly Agency of USA and through the IFRC has implemented Control over DOTS treatment of TB ill patients in Yasamal, Binagadi, Nizami, Khatai, Sabail and Khezer districts of Baku city.  8 nurses of local branches of the AzRC were involved into the project. The nurses of AzRCS trained by National Tuberculosis Programme of the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan Republic about Control over DOTS treatment of TB ill patients,are visiting every day  are visiting 38 people with Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis living in four Baku city districts, identified as being at high risk of defaulting on treatment and encouraged them to continue and complete their regular treatment.MDR TB patients followed by National Society nurses also had monthly health check up visits to TB Dispensaries. In addition the nurses conducted health promotion on tuberculosis for TB ill patients and their family members. Two times per month a psychologist paid visits to MDR TB patients accompanying the trained nurses in order to provide psychological support.In continuation of the process started last year six staff members and volunteers from the targeted branches were trained on monitoring and evaluation. The tools used for training were20 local branch volunteers from three regions were trained on methods of dissemination of information and public awareness on the issues of drug use. The Azerbaijan Red Crescent applied a module developed earlier on working with drug users in three piloted communities among 65 community members.

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The National Society carried out a Public Relations event on Harm reduction with active participation of drug users and local branch volunteers for more than 2,900 people from five regions. 1,000 leaflets on drug use were produced and distributed among the community members during the events.The National Society organized a picnic with participation of 48 drug users, their family members, as well as the Red Crescent staff and volunteers and representatives of local narcological dispensary and Public Union on Struggle with AIDS – Positive Life Network/Lankaran branch. The participants were involved in discussions on issues of stigma/discrimination towards marginalized groups. Still today, many people believe they would be denounced by the society if they profess and seek the assistance of specialists. People are afraid of referring to drug clinics because of the discrimination from the wider society and lack of social protection. Educational work among pupils and students living in border areas should be increased along with attention to out-of-school centers to combat drugs and influence gradual change of bad habits.

AzRCS signed Memorandum of Understanding with Ministries of Emergency Situation (2006) and Health (2010) which support to clarity the role of NS during carrying out humanitarian work. AzRCS is member of the HIV/AIDS and TB working group of the Country Cooperation Meeting (CCM). The AzRCS participating in different project UNODC as expert and always sharing and presented experiences related HIV/AIDS, TB of IFRC.


Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society
ERNA Contact InformationHeadHeadERNA Contact PersonERNA Contact Person
Name SurnameNovruzali ASLANOVMr Bayram VALIYEVShaban ShayevMatanat Qarakhanova
Role in the National SocietyPresidentSecretary GeneralDeputy Secretary GeneralHead of health and care dpt
Phone numbers+99412 493 84 81+99450 323 31 46+99455 655 28 92+99412 493 84 81
Fax+99412 493 15 78+99412 493 15 78+99412 493 15 78+99412 493 15 78
Post addressAZ1022, 112 S.Vurgun ave. Baku, AzerbaijanAZ1022, 112 S.Vurgun ave. Baku, AzerbaijanAZ1022, 112 S.Vurgun ave. Baku, AzerbaijanAZ1022, 112 S.Vurgun ave. Baku, Azerbaijan