- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 January 31, 2003 

Health Help: Ministry of Healthcare offers six Saturdays of free treatment

Poghosyan says free treatment is response to harsh winter.Beginning 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.

Malayan's eye doctors started doing free surgeries in 2000."Yerkir 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 each Saturday.

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.


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  Photos of the week
  Photo of the week: Talk Time
Photo of the week: Talk Time
Click on the photo above to enlarge

Talk Time

In 19 days Armenia will elect a President. Until then voters will be talked to by candidates such as Stepan Demirchyan (top). And some, such as President Robert Kocharyan (bottom), will be talked back to.



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