tomorrow (February 1), residents of Yerevan will
have the opportunity to receive medical treatment
for free each Saturday for the next six weeks.
The same program, called "Open Doors Days",
has been implemented in the regions since January
17 and will continue through February 25.
Those with health concerns will have a chance
to receive consultations, examinations and get
a limited amount of drugs for free.
From time to time the Ministry of Healthcare
organizes such programs. According to Vahan Poghosyan,
head of the first aid department at the Ministry,
this one has been organized in response to the
unusually hard winter.
The teaching staff of Yerevan State Medical University
and leading specialists of the National Institute
of the Ministry of Healthcare will be working
together with the doctors of medical centers to
conduct the program.
Nairy" charitable medical organization, Erebuni
Medical Center, Malatsya Medical Center, First
Aid Scientific and Medical Center and Public Hospital
No. 3 will be working during the Open Door Saturdays.
Poghosyan says 500 to 1,000 patients are expected
Alexander Malayan, director of the Sergey Malayan
Ophthalmology Center says the socially vulnerable
benefit most from the free medicine. The ophthalmologist
said when Open Doors Days first began in the 1970s,
the idea was to have leading specialists travel
to the regions to see patients who couldn't make
it to the bigger cities.
Now, the reasons are more directly linked to
economic hardship throughout the country. Eye
surgery was added to the free services in 2000.
"In this case it is clear the quality won't
be as high as when an operation is done in the
Center," Malayan says. "However it is
better to do what is possible than do nothing."
Malayan recalled one episode, when during a trip
to the regions his doctors performed a surgery
on a blind musician who had stopped singing after
having vision problems.
Several hours after the operation the patient
wrote a song and presented it to the doctors.