CEO Caspian Energy (CEO): Guven Hospital started working in 1974 in Ankara as a small medical clinic. Nowadays it has become one of the largest medical centers. What has happened over the past 41 years? Do people get sick more often or doctors now treat better, having gained more trust to their work?
Kamala Guliyeva, Director of Guven Hospital Azerbaijan: Indeed, people do fall ill more often, and the main reason for this is the deterioration of the ecological situation. But in this period the medicine Turkey has made a huge qualitative shoot forward.
GuvenHospital is a large clinic for 300 beds. Patients are treated by the staff, numbering 1,500 specialists. GuvenHospital is a many-profile medical institution. It provides medical treatment and at the same time performs surgeries, including organ transplantation as well.
CEO: Does your clinic employ only Turkish specialists or you invite physicians from other countries as well?
Kamala Guliyeva: Guven Hospital employs only local specialists, and they all are excellently educated and studied in Turkey as well as in Europe, the USA and Canada. We have professionals, who are the members of the well-known international organizations.
CEO: In recent years your clinic has been accredited four times by the Joint Commission International (JCI) - an independent and globally recognized accreditation organization (USA). And it opens you the opportunity to be an active participant in the field of health tourism. How often do citizens of other countries apply to your clinic for treatment?
Kamala Guliyeva: For example, once a week our clinic performs liver or kidney transplant operations on patients from Israel, the Arab countries, European countries, the CIS countries and even the United States. In Europe, the same operations are carried out according to the schedule. But there are people, who cannot wait long. In this case they choose Turkey, where they are able to receive necessary help for their money.
CEO: How easy is it to find donors?
Kamala Guliyeva: First and foremost, I would like to point out that we do not have a donors bank because we are aware of the danger that it could contain the organs of victims of trafficking. People with maximum the fourth degree of consanguinity are allowed to become donors for patients, and their relationship has to be confirmed by relevant documents. This system works both in Europe and in Turkey. It has its drawbacks since it is difficult to find donors, especially those having appropriate documents.
CEO: How often do Azerbaijani patients visit your clinic?
Kamala Guliyeva: Very often. We made successful internal organs transplant operations for the citizens of Azerbaijan, who applied to us. But most of them still cannot do it in Turkey, because they are not able to present documents testifying their fourth degree of consanguinity.
CEO: What about other types of surgical interference or medical treatment? How often do citizens of Azerbaijan apply to Guven Hospital?
Kamala Guliyeva: Health tourism is not a brand-new thing. People from different countries are constantly in search of physicians of different specialty profiles, certain conditions, clinics, practices. So, we also have patients from Azerbaijan, who apply to us every day. Orthopedists are sought for especially often. General surgery is also much in demand. Very often, unfortunately, people apply to us with oncology problems. Just the other day the successful operation was performed on the patient from Azerbaijan suffering from cancer to replace the esophagus tissue with the stomach tissue. That was the very difficult surgery. Very frequently people apply to our clinic in connection with pediatric and pathological diseases.
CEO: Could you please describe the procedure of applying to the representation that your head?
Kamala Guliyeva: Firstly, I should point out that the cost of treatment for a foreign patient is higher than for a citizen of Turkey. Secondly, if citizens of other countries want to use services of the clinic not through representations in their countries, but directly, treatment for them will be by 20 per cent more expensive. That is to say, it is more advantageous to work with the representative offices, where you will also be able to get necessary consultations as well. Moreover, if our representations learn about a difficult financial situation of a patient, his family and relatives, we try to offer an additional discount. On the other hand, GuvenHospital offers certain VIP-services, which, by the way, are popular with Azerbaijani patients.
CEO: We know about the plans of your clinic in the field of education …
Kamala Guliyeva: I am pleased to share the news: very soon GuvenHospital will shift to a university level. That is, we will not only render medical treatment, but also teach how to do it. We are going to train new professionals in the field of medicine. I would add that now foreign doctors, including Azerbaijani ones, join us to participate in our courses.