ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
March 19, 2004


Medicine on the Go: Villagers get treatment delivered to their door


In the region of Armavir, residents of the village of Janfida have gathered for a day that has been long anticipated. Doctors are coming and anxious villagers want to to be the first to be seen.
New ambulances bring medical help to village clinics.

Like many areas outside major cities or towns, Janfida does not have proper medical facilities and few, if any, doctors. And most residents cannot afford to travel to centers where treatment is available. The solution, then, is for specialists to go to the villages.

“At the end of each year we're preparing a schedule for specialists' visits,” says deputy governor of Armavir region Larisa Muradyan. “There isn't more than one spacialist in a village.”

Over the past several years, the regional government of Armavir has been sponsoring visits by ear, nose and throat specialists, cardiologists, neuropathologists, surgeons and eye doctors.

“The village needed this undertaking. There are many famililes who do not have the means to get not only to Yerevan but even to center of the region. In this case the specialist visits the patient,” says the executive director of Janfida ambulance station and regional therapist Arsen Mkhitaryan

According to Mkhitaryan people at the village were previously told that doctors' visits are expected and about 50 villagers were examined so that during the visit specialists get a better idea for treatment.

Last year, through funding from World Bank, the outpatient clinic in Janfida was upgraded with modern medical equipment.

According to village head Ghoukas Sreyan, the previos clinic was built in 1920. The new facility cost $40,000, with 10 percent of funding coming from the village community, which has a population of 3,250.

“Today, visiting doctors can accept and examine the patients properly,” says head of the village, Ghoukas Sreyan, who adds that one benefit of the new facility is to prevent disease.

“I haven't seen a doctor, I couldn't afford it. I don't even have 1000 drams (around $2) to go to Yerevan,” says 75-year old Janfida pensioner Huri Kalashyan. “ I'm waiting for my turn to see what they will advise.”

Gyulvard Muradyan, 68, is coming out from the eye doctor's room holding a prescription.

“I'm so happy. I was thinking how I would buy medicines if they perscribed any, but they said they're giving it for free,” she says.

“If it happens so that we don't have any medicine with us we tell which pharmacy to go to in Armavir and get it for free. The governor's office pays for it afterwards,” says the deputy Governor.

This year, specialists make visits in new ambulances to reach the clinic where they have modern equipment for examination.

“People are being examined, and even if they need permanent treatment we mediate so that it's done for free and any ambulatory treatment is being done right on the spot,” says eye doctor Mary Alaverdyan.

Neuropathologist Shahen Alaverdyan says the on-site visits are an effective means of medical practice, especially considering village conditions.

“Almost all of the patients suffer functional disorders of the nervous system,” he says. “This has to do with most difficult social and economic conditions of out country.”

Muradyan directs state-ordered patients to medical help.

According to Muradyan, one cannot say that the Armavir government is spending a lot of money during those visits since every citizen of community is financed by the state. In general, therapeutic and pediatric services are free of charge. Simply, examinations that are needed for a correct diagnosis of a disease are of great importance.

“We find patients and send them to get treatment within the frameworks of state order. We also do everything in order for the villagers to be aware of their rights. Sometimes, they come and say they don't go to see a doctor since they don't have the money for that,” explains Muradyan.

Residents who are too sick to leave their beds, are visited by doctors in their homes.

So far this year doctors from the main hospital in the city of Armavir Armavir have been in 10 villages. Visits will continue throughout the year.

“We examined 400 patients in Nalbandyan village the other day. In one day we manage to complete work in one village since everything is decided and organized beforehand. It's impossible that people know about the doctors' visit and do not come,” says Larisa Muradyan.


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