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Focus on National Prevention Strategies: Azerbaijan

Dr Ulviya Zakiyeva, National CVD Prevention Coordinator in Azerbaijan

Every nation has its own specific culture, which is further influenced by the many subcultures on different aspects of life and is adapted to the regional-climate properties of land.

Azerbaijan is no exception in this respect, and the investigation of risk factors in Non-Communicable Diseases in February-April 2011 has yielded interesting results. This is the first national cross-sectional survey carried out by using the "STEPS" methodology research of Non-communicable Diseases by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to the WHO measurement of risk factors of Non-Communicable Diseases the following indices were evaluated:

  • Daily smoking and alcohol consumption during the last 30 days
  • Dietary habits and eating of fruits and vegetables less than 5 portions a day
  • Physical activity no less than 600 Metabolic Equivalent/min
  • Body Mass Index≥ 25 kg/m2 
  • Systolic blood pressure ≥140 and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥90 
  • Measurement of biochemical parameters as fasting blood sugar 

The investigation was done under the Health Ministry, involved a population cohort of 2400 individuals of the age of 18 years and older, who were randomized to receive a standardized questionnaire; 83, 3% of them answered (respondents). All results were collected and reviewed according to evidence-based clinical protocols which provided the screening of the following CVD risk factors; detection of metabolic syndrome; clinical management of  essential hypertension in adults during the measurement of blood pressure;  monitoring of treatment of hypertension; 

In summary, our investigation showed that only 3, 6 % of respondents have no risk factors for CVD. Hyperglycaemia or impaired glucose tolerance occurred in 20, 2 % of cases. In both men and women excess of fatty food with low fruits /vegetables intake was observed; we also found reduced physical activity, and occurrence of overweight/obesity, which worsened with increasing age.

Interestingly, a division in the gender results appeared in respect to smoking and alcohol consumption, which were both more frequent in men than women. This survey also allowed us to determine that groups of patients with essential hypertension did not take their medication regularly. 

This investigation has been very instrumental for the development of CVD prevention tools at national level like:

  • Preparing brochures on dietary habits (increase of fruits/vegetables intake and decrease of fatty food which is preferable in National kitchen)
  • Preparing brochures and TV programmes on physical activity
  • Setting up a " No smoking at public places" company, serious control of cigarettes sale (no cigarettes under 18 age) and more information on the press/ TV about "Alcohol abuse"
  • The family doctor is a new institution in Azerbaijan so the regular clinical examination of patients with any chronic disease (for example, hypertension or hyperglycaemia/ impaired glucose tolerance) by district doctors is the primary tool for medical service management. 

The results of this investigation also led to an increase of quality of services with focus on Non-Communicable Diseases.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Ulviya Zakiyeva (email)
National CVD Prevention Coordinator in Azerbaijan

The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology