Health System Problems in Ararat Region and the New Procedure for the Certification of Doctors
A discussion was held in Artashat about Ararat Region's health care system and the new procedure for the certification of doctors, which was attended by various heads of medical institutions, doctors, and representatives of state structures and NGOs.

Hayk Badalyan, Head of the Health Department of Health and Social Welfare of the Ararat Regional Administration, said that there are 56 medical facilities in the region which employ 1,400 medical employees and serve about 380 thousand inhabitants.

“There are various medical problems in Ararat Region, ranging from the issue of repairing the buildings. There are hospitals which have the task of building from scratch. As for the equipments, they are constantly updated as much as possible. We closely cooperate with the Ministry of Health and regularly present our current problems and they are fulfilled year by year as much as possible,” Badalyan said.  

He said that the renovation of Artashat medical center started this year which would last about 2.5 years.

“After the construction work we will have a well-equipped clinic. Later, other medical centers are also expected to be improved, for example Masis, Vedi. In terms of training of the experts, we need narrow specialists and occasionally inform the Ministry about the vacant jobs,” Badalyan said.

Ophelia Simonyan, Coordinator of Artashat Civil Youth Center, said that the region's biggest problem is the lack of ambulance cars.

“Except Ararat community, all other communities in the region are in need of ambulances. Dimitrov community does not have a medical facility building at all, dispensaries of Azatavan and Aygestan are in the harsh conditions, the building in Nshanavan is in an emergency situation and the building of clinic in Dvin is in terrible condition,” Simonyan said.

There are two ambulance cars in Artashat.

Hayk Badalyan explained that after the reconstruction of Artashat medical center it will be equipped with new ambulances and new equipment.

Gayane Avetisyan, Chief specialist of Social Affairs and Programs Department of Artashat Municipality staff, said that in 2015 31 vulnerable residents applied to Artashat city council for a ordered  of treatment, and only during the first half of 2016, 32 residents have applied.

“We are applied by the most vulnerable residents. We conduct a study, based on which we give a petition to receive a government order paper and go for free treatment. Mainly we are applied for eye surgery,” Avetisyan said.

Lawyer of "Legal Development Center" NGO Mariam Torosyan said that within the scope of their activities they hold meetings with medical employees and inform them about their labor rights.

“Today, unfortunately, many serious rights of doctors are violated by the leadership of hospitals, sometimes also by patients. For example, in Vedi there have been cases when health care worker becomes 65 years old and he reaches the retirement age, he is just informed to write an application for leave which is actually a very serious violation of law. The Constitutional Court has made a decision, according to which the retirement age is not itself a constitute ground for dismissal of a person and they are not entitled to dismiss. It is discrimination and a violation of the Constitution. This is in fact widespread in all regions,” Torosyan said.  

Head of the HR department of RA Health Ministry Samvel Soghomonyan said that today there are 472 doctors and 1089 middle medical staff in Ararat which is quite high compared with other regions.

“There are 18, 1 doctors per 1,000 population. This is quite low compared with high European health system, but quite high compared with other regions of Armenia. Currently 23 doctors of different specialties are necessary in the region: surgeon, general practitioner, obstetrician-gynecologist, cardiologist, anesthesiologist, pediatrician, family doctor. We have communities that do not have a doctor and actually residents of these communities are deprived of access to medical care and services. There are two such communities in the region,” Soghomonyan said.

After discussing the problems of medical establishments, the participants discussed the new licensing procedure, legislative changes of which came into force since May 4 of this year.

Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

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