Nakhchivan has an ancient public health history. Owing to the widespread natural medicine plants different illnesses could have been treated and this experience had been alive through the generations. Obviously, at that time medical service was carried out by educated interim doctors, particularly by bone-setters, healers and midwives. The professional medical service dates back to the second half of 19th century.
It is clear from archive materials that according to the law of Tsarist Russia on medical staff in southern Caucasus, 1 doctor, 2 assistant-doctors and 1 midwife were appointed in each district. To this end, Russian doctors and assistant-doctors were sent to the regions. The first medical center in Nakhchivan was opened in 1889 in Sharur region. Even if some achievements in medical field were obtained during Tsarist Russia period, the improvement of health system was realized in Soviet period. The first health-care department of Nakhchivan was founded in October 1920 and subsequently the opening of medical clinics was launched. In 1924, the health-care department was transformed into Nakhchivan AR public health commission (this agency has been called as Ministry of Health since 1946). This breakthrough triggered the development of the health sector. In general, the development process of public health system throughout Soviet Union period was one of the great achievements of our nation.
Starting from the late Soviet Union period, even though there were some deficits as to health system of the autonomous republic in the wake of economic and political problems, it could be taken under control after consolidation of the independence of Azerbaijan, and through the reform programs the integration period of the health system of Nakhchivan into world health system was launched.
Currently, one of the most important tasks before the state is to strengthen the protection of public health system and to increase the level of medical service. In the framework of wide-range reforms being conducted, new medical centres are established; the old ones are re-established after capital repairs and provided with modern medical equipments. During 2000-2005, including Private Medical Center, Hygiene and Epidemiology Center, Duzdagh Physiotherapy Center, Rehabilitation Center for the disabled, "İmplant-dent" dental polyclinic, Central Children Hospital, Daridagh arsenic water dispensary, 48 medical centers were constructed and 35 medical centers were capitally repaired and equipped with modern medical technologies in the autonomous republic.
During 2005-2010, the Nakhchivan Diagnostics-Treatment Center, Central Hospital in Kangarli, hospital with modern medical equipments in Sharur, Clinic of Lung diseases, Child Rehabilitation and Child Care Centers, Nakhchivan Emergency Medical Center, Childbirth Center, Oncology Center, doctor ambulatories and assistant-midwife points in villages of the autonomous republic were put into service after either construction or reconstruction.
In general, 179 medical centres were put into service after construction and re-construction works over the period 1995-2010.
For the year 2013 the construction of Babek District Central Hospital, reconstruction of Kangarli District Central Hospital, and major repairs of Babek District Jahri Rural Hospital were completed.
Reconstruction of out-patient clinic buildings in Demirchi, Khanliglar and Sarkhanli villages of Sharur district, Cheshmebasar village of Babek district, Bist village of Ordubad, Kirna village of Julfa district, Khok village of Kangarli district, Kuku and Gizil Gishlag villages of Shahbuz district, the construction of medical assistant and midwife stations in Shahbulag and Gumushlu villages of Sharur district, Shekerabad village of Babek district, Nasirvaz, Nurgut, Alahi and Khurs villages of Ordubad district, Teyvaz village of Julfa district, Guney Gishlag and Ayrinj villages of Shahbuz district, and the reconstruction of out-patient medical room in Salasuz village were completed.
Nowadays, there are 55 hospitals, 5 polyclinics, 49 out-patient clinics, 123 medical assistant and midwife stations, 5 First Aid Stations, 8 Hygiene and Epidemiology Centres, 62 drugstores in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
At present paramedical personnel are trained at Nakhchivan Medical College, and doctors are educated at medical department of Nakhchivan State University.
The natural treatment objects
The Daridagh (Thermal arsenic water) Balneological Hospital
Daridagh arsenic thermal water situated on 15 km north - east ofJulfa district has a lot of therapeutic importance of healing skin diseases. Itch, impetigo, and piodermia can be examples to these kinds of diseases. For the treatment of these diseases one should take several baths of Daridagh water. Duration of treatment seances are different. The heating rate of Daridagh thermal arsenic water from the source is 520 C. But the temperature of the water to the treatment baths is between 37 or 39 degrees. Daily output of Daridagh thermal water is greater than other existing therapeutic water sources. To be more exact daily output of Daridagh arsenic water source is 450.000. The superior arsenic waters are the ones containing the mixture of alkaline and salt. All these factors make Daridagh water take the first place among other arsenic waters not only in the Caucasus but also in the world. For instance, the most famous ones among the same kinds of the waters are Renkago and Leviko in Italy and Lya Bur Bul in France. Daridagh water is different compared to them. The level of arsenic in Renkago/Italy in comparison with Daridagh is much more but its composition is not alkaline,it is not absorbed sufficiently by human body and does not give necessary curative effect. There hasn’t been any health resort or hospital in the arsenic bed water area until the middle of XX century, although existing Daridagh water sources since XV century. A hospital with 5 baths was first built in 1976. A medical corps meeting international standards was built on the basis of socio-economic development of the state program in 2005. 2 new medical corps are used at present in Daridagh. There are wide conditions and opportunities for medical aids in the corps. It’s possible to serve 25 or so patients during an hour in the corps.
Duzdagh Physiotherapy Center
Duzdagh Physiotherapy Center first started to function as a department with capacity of 50 beds in the Babek Central Hospital.The center was founded on December 29, 1979 and started to function on March 7, 1980. Taking into account the needs of the capacity of hospital was reached to 100 beds in 1980. The hospital consists of two parts: the ground surface and the underground department. The ground surface is in the present Duzdagh Physiotherapy Center next to Nakhchivan Salt Mine Base. The underground department started to function in the second salt mine of the mountain workshop. Its total area is about 15.000 sq.m. A sanatorium typed building had been planned next to the underground department of the hospital under the initiative of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, the construction of Duzdagh Physiotherapy Center was added up on December 21, 2008 in which head of state Ilham Aliyev participated its groundbreaking ceremony and its opening event was on the fourth day of that month with the participating of the Azerbaijan President. Bronchial asthmas (inflectional-allergic and atopicalforms), chronic bronchitis, asthmatic component, chorinic bronchitis allergic, allergic rhino sinusoid pathologies, pre asthma are treated in the center.
Badamli Phisiotherapy Hospital was established in 1980 in the settlement of Badamli of Shahbuz region. The digestive system diseases (chronical gastrits, chronical hepathoe cholesistit), gall-stone diseases, chronical entherocolist, chronical gastrohelcosis, chronical pancreatit diseases are treated with the help of the Badamli water healing in this center.