Azerbaijan’s fertility holds steady, abortion level falling
Calverton, MD - The fertility rate is holding steady in Azerbaijan at about 2 children per woman, according to a new national health survey. The State Statistical Committee released the final report for the 2006 Azerbaijan Demographic and Health Survey (AzDHS) recently at a ceremony in Baku. It is the first DHS ever conducted in Azerbaijan. More than 8,000 women and 2,500 men across the country were interviewed for the survey.
Abortions remain common although the rate has declined recently; at the current level, a woman in Azerbaijan will have an average of 2.3 abortions in her lifetime. Family planning use is widespread. Fourteen percent of married women use modern methods, such as IUDs, and 37 percent rely on traditional methods, such as withdrawal (33 percent).
The AzDHS findings show child mortality is continuing to decline. Currently 1 in 20 children is at risk of dying before reaching their fifth birthday compared to 1 in 15 children at the end of the last decade.
The AZDHS assessed children's nutrition status by measuring their weight and height and comparing the results to international growth standards set by WHO. Although most Azerbaijani children fall within the normal range, one in four children under age five is stunted.
Anemia is a common problem among many young children. The AzDHS found that nearly 2 out of 5 (39 percent) children age 6-59 months have anemia and more than a third (37 percent) of women in Azerbaijan are anemic.
Adult Health Concerns
The 2006 AzDHS obtained blood pressure measurements for consenting adults age 15-49. Overall, one in six individuals age 15-49 in Azerbaijan are classified as hypertensive, and nearly one-third of men and women age 40 and older suffer from some degree of hypertension. Compounding the problem, 56 percent of women and 86 percent of men with high blood pressure do not know they are hypertensive.
Nearly half of Azerbaijani women age 15-49 weigh more than they should-30 percent are overweight and 18 percent are obese. The AzDHS also found that 40 percent of men age 15-49 are overweight or obese.
Smoking is common among men age 15-49, with about half reporting that they are smokers. Among current smokers, over 90 percent reported that they smoked 10 or more cigarettes during the past 24 hours.