Today is an outstanding scientist and ophthalmologist, academician Zarifa Aliyeva's birthday.
She was born on April 28, 1923 in Shahtakhty village of Nakhchyvan. Her father Aziz Mammadkerim Aliyev and mother Leila Jabbar Abbasova were born in Iravan, our eternal and historical land. The policy of genocide consciously carried out against Azerbaijanis made Aziz Aliyev leave his education incomplete in St Petersburg in 1918 and move his family undergoing pressure in Iravan to Shahtakhty village where Zarifa Aliyeva was born. In May 1923 Aziz Aliyev decides to move to Baku. The objective was quite clear. Aziz Aliyev, who graduated in a hard time from the Iravan Gymnasium with golden medal, gained huge success in education, had to complete his education. In Baku he graduates from the medical faculty of the university and the post graduate course, becomes candidate of science. For short time he defends a doctoral thesis. In 1929, 32-year-old Aziz Aliyev works as deputy health commissar at the Azerbaijan Health Commissariat.
Zarifa Aliyeva, who grew in an environment closely linked by family and moral ties with great figures of poetry and art having made great contributions to development of Azerbaijan’s culture, music and science such as Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Muslum Magomayev, Mirasadulla Mirgasymov, Bulbul, Samad Vurgun, was personifying the nicest model of an Azeri intelligentsia.
Aiming to devote herself to the medicine Z.Aliyeva entered in 1942 the Treatment and Prophylaxis Faculty of the Azerbaijan State Medical Institute that she graduated in 1947 with excellent marks. At the time, trachoma, an infectious disease causing harm to eye, grave consequences and even amaurosis, was widespread in Azerbaijan and effective fight with this infection and its serious consequences was an important issue not for ophthalmology only, even for the Republic of Azerbaijan. In such situation Azerbaijan strongly needed Zarifa Aliyeva, who was in detail studying this infectious disease and its treatment. Because many of blind people were suffering from this disease at the time. So, Z.Aliyeva visited big medical institutions of Azerbaijan, districts where trachoma was widely spread, delivered lectures for ophthalmologists on examination and treatment of trachoma and other eye diseases, talked to population.
But it was not enough in fight with grave diseases. The republic was in need of fundamental studies on eye diseases of regional character, including professional eye diseases, development of effective methods to treat and prevent these diseases. Zarifa Aliyeva wanted to present the light to eyes deprived of bright, return love for life to those missing the beauty of the Sun and the Moon, fascination of colorful nature.
This desire took her to Moscow City and she acquired specialization of ophthalmologist after successfully completing the 2-year advanced training course at the All-Union Central Doctors Improvement Institute. Afterwards, Z.Aliyeva returned home and in 1949 began working as scientific worker at the Azerbaijan Eye Diseases Research Institute. In 1950 she entered the post graduate course, continued her researches. Engaged with development of medical and preventive actions against various eye diseases Zarifa Aliyeva dedicated the first phase of her scientific activity to treatment of infectious disease trachoma. Thus, the life itself determined the topic of first researches of Zarifa Aliyeva.
Aiming to put an end to trachoma in Azerbaijan she knew very well how much that problem was difficult and complicated. But despite difficulties and responsibility of the mission she gained huge successes for short time.
Zarifa Aliyeva dedicated her research to treatment of trachoma, more exactly to the study of more effective means in cure and aggravation of trachoma, use of synthomycin, an antibiotic that was new at the time, which had an antichlamydial activity except wide antibacterial spectrums. She was not pleased of working at the institute only. She used to visit cities and districts of the republic, study reasons of the disease and implement medical and preventive actions in the hotbeds of the disease. The great scientist had special services in field of prevention of trachoma spread in children homes. Results of these studies formed the base of Ph.D. thesis ‘Treatment of trachoma with synthomycin along with other medical methods’ Z.Aliyeva successfully defended in 1960. The method of treatment proposed by Z.Aliyeva, who was specialized and received the degree of candidate of sciences in this field, was applied all over the republic and saved the country of this disease. Therefore, abolition of trachoma in Azerbaijan as social disease is connected to the name of Zarifa Aliyeva.
After summarizing researches on study and cure of trachoma Z.Aliyeva commenced to researches in other necessary directions of ophthalmology. She carried out several studies on glaucoma. Coverage of researches on results of those studies on the press helped doctors in field of clinical eye diseases to improve their knowledge.
From 1960 to 1967 Zarifa Aliyeva worked as senior scientific worker at the Ophthalmology Research Institute. In 1963 the USSR High Attestation Commission granted her the title of senior scientific worker in ophthalmology.
In 1967 Z.Aliyeva was invited to the office of lecturer in the Eye Diseases Department at the Azerbaijan State Doctors Improvement Institute. This institute was named after Z.Aliyeva’s late father Aziz Mammadkerim Aliyev, professor who led the Department in last years of his life.
At the time Zarifa Aliyeva worked as a doctor: she conducted a number of surgeries, gave advices to ills. But her action was not limited with her own clinic only and covered all the ophthalmologic organizations and sections. In addition, she conducted pedagogical work with doctors attending the advanced training courses on eye diseases.
Seriously engaged in medical experience and personnel training issues Z.A.Aliyeva attached great importance to continuation of researches at the same time. At that time she paid attention to some important issues in ophthalmology, specially diagnostics, treatment of glaucoma and inflammation of the vision. Pathology of the vision, which was studied not enough from scientific point of view, caught her attention. Importance of the problem was linked to the fact that there was huge need for development of chemical and electronics industry, and also impact of a number of new chemical combinations on vision was not scientifically studied.
From 1968 Zarifa Aliyeva began to purposefully deal with pathology of eyesight. Except some serious scientific issues all her life she was particularly interested in eye diseases caused by profession. She also paid big attention to some other issues such as factors affecting the vision of those working in the iodine-industry institutions, petrochemical industry.
Working on this problem Z.Aliyeva used to personally visit industrial institutions, have ophthalmologic checkup of persons working in harmful spheres. Besides, she implemented laboratory practices in shops of a number of industrial institutions in Baku and Sumgayit, including the cover plant. As result of wide scale clinical and practical studies the Scientist discovered the major objective laws of influence of toxic matters on the eyesight.
Results of long term observations, clinical studies and experiments formed the base of doctoral thesis of Zarifa Aliyeva. She defended her thesis themed ‘The state of the vision of employees of some chemical institutions in Azerbaijan’ at one of the very influential ophthalmologic centers of the world – the Eye Diseases Research Institute named after H.Helmgolts in Moscow. Dissertation of Z.Aliyeva, which was one of the first works in this field of ophthalmology, was highly evaluated by scientists in ophthalmology. In 1977 Z.Aliyeva was granted the academic degree of doctor of medical sciences.
A bit later after defending a doctoral thesis Z.Aliyeva was elected professor of the Ophthalmology Department at the Azerbaijan State Doctors Improvement Institute and from 1983 she was chief of that department. From the very first day Zarifa Aliyeva managed to gather young talented colleagues around herself and organize research work, training of personnel and scientific workers. But existing base of the Department was not suitable for conducting researches. It needed to take initiative and Zarifa Aliyeva took steps to solve the problem. In 1977 Board of the All-Union Ophthalmologists Union held its plenum in Baku at the suggestion of Z.Aliyeva. Such an event was held in Baku for the first time and demanded big organizational skills and rich experience. Zarifa Aliyeva bore all the responsibility for preparation and realization of the plenum, which played exceptional role in development of ophthalmologic service at the best academic institutions and training of teaching staff in both Azerbaijan and former union.
The plenum approved the initiative professor Z.Aliyeva advanced on creation of the first specialized research laboratory to study professional pathology of the vision. At that laboratory, which was initiated and organized by Z.Aliyeva in 1979 at the Institute of Physiology of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, a number of valuable surveys were held to study impact of physiologic, clinical, functional and histological mechanisms on the vision in low-intensity toxic production fields. As result of researches Zarifa Aliyeva published several monographs, including ‘Professional pathology of eye in production of cover’, ‘Ophthalmology relating to chronic iodine intoxication’, ‘Prevention of professional pathology of eye in iodine industry’ that were much appreciated by the scientific community all over the world.
In 1981 Zarifa Aliyeva was awarded the highest prize in field of ophthalmology – Prize named after Academician M.I.Averbakh of the Academy of Medical Sciences of USSR for great contribution she gave to development of ophthalmology – researches she conducted in field of professional pathology of the vision. Professor Z.Aliyeva was the first woman awarded with that prize.
Activity of Z.Aliyeva was enlarged after she was elected chief of the Ophthalmology Department at the Azerbaijan State Doctors Improvement Institute in 1983. By the way, it must be noted that scientific interests of Zarifa Aliyeva were not limited with problems concerning professional pathology of the vision only. The scientific community knows well the series of her works devoted to harm caused to eyesight by virus. Application of those scientific works improved differential diagnostics of some diseases, lifted their medical importance. Learning supplies for ophthalmologists such as ‘Herpetic eye disease’, ‘Heavy virus conjunctivitis’ were dedicated just to these issues.
At the time Z.Aliyeva carried out some interesting studies on etymology, diagnostics and treatment of glaucoma. As result of intensive and important studies she published some scientific articles and 2 monographs – ‘Anatomico-physiological features of hydrodynamic system of eye’ and ‘Age-caused changes in the nerve ways of eye’.
Zarifa Aliyeva studied prevention and cure of eye injury as well. In her scientific works she studied existing surgical methods in the event of harm to eyesight, developed useful recommendations to improve those methods. These recommendations further eased the cure of the vision damaged undergoing surgery.
Some scientific works of the Scholar covered diagnostics and cure of malignant tumors in the vision. Monographs ‘Physiology of epiphora’, ‘Treatment of epiphora via modern surgery’ Z.A.Aliyeva dedicated to dacriology attracted attention of ophthalmologists and physiologists.
Z.Aliyeva is one of the authors of fundamental book ‘Therapeutic ophthalmology’, which remains as handbook for every ophthalmologist.
Zarifa Aliyeva is one of the scientists having studied development of diagnostics of disease in new direction (change in iris, iridodiagnostics) for the first time and written some scientific articles on this subject. She is one of the authors of unique scientific work ‘Fundamentals of iridodiagnostics’ that is invaluable scientific device to doctors.
Rich pedagogic, scientific and practical experience of Z.Aliyeva is reflected in her monograph ‘Important issues of ophthalmology’ (with professor N.B.Shulpina and L.F.Moshetova). This book is of great importance for ophthalmologists and teachers in the doctors improvement faculties.
Z.Aliyeva had always thought of medical ethics and medical deontology. She spent much trouble on training of young doctors, study and solution of problems concerning their professional action. Her numerous articles, speeches, book ‘High confidence’ devoted just to this issue gave valuable contribution to the formation of doctor as personality in the society. Zarifa Aliyeva intensively worked in field of personnel training and lifting qualification of doctors. Under her direct leadership a big generation of young scholars and ophthalmologists has raised. She taught her students rich experience of life, rendering them care and attention. She was never tired of hard labor, worked willingly and enthusiastically. Zarifa Aliyeva possessed deep sympathy of her colleagues, trainees and patients as a selfless doctor, responsible citizen, sincere and careful person caring about people, their problems and taking active position in life.
Professor Z.Aliyeva was elected in 1983 academician of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan for great services and long-term researches.
All her life long Academician Z.A.Aliyeva conducted wide public activity, was member of the Peace Protection Committee of former USSR, deputy chairperson of the Azerbaijan Peace Protection Committee, member of Board of the Bilik Society and member of Board of the Scientific Society of Ophthalmologists of former Union. She was also member of editorial board of ‘Ophthalmology news’ magazine.
Z.Aliyeva was awarded with orders and medals, also the title of Honorary Figure of Science of Azerbaijan.
Beside scientific action Zarifa Aliyeva was careful mother, wonderful and faithful wife. Two children, deserving their father and mother, loving Azerbaijan, have grown in this family. These children are pride of our homeland. They say mother loves her child more than herself and Zarifa Aliyeva was such kind of mother to her children presented by the God. Her spouse, our national leader, eternal President Heydar Aliyev was hardly working for the sacred goals as a great personality having dedicated all his life to Azerbaijan.
Zarifa Aliyeva died in the 62nd spring of her life. In 1985 she passed away leaving a person, protecting Azerbaijan from every pursuit, inspiring this land and popularizing it all over the world, lonely.