Free health care support is provided to Syrian-Armenians

The project on “Health care support to vulnerable Syrian Armenians residing in Armenia” launched on March 17, 2017, has helped more than 520 beneficiaries so far.

  • November 12, 2018
  • Mediamax
  • 2 photo(s)

The project has been initiated by the Izmirlian Foundation and co-funded by Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Izmirlian Medical Center is the main implementing agent of the project.

Among the partner organizations of the project are the RA Ministry of Diaspora, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) as well as local NGOs supporting Syrian-Armenians residing in Armenia.

“Syrian Armenians can benefit from all the services provided at Izmirlian Medical Center. Consultative diagnostic services are free of charge while laboratory tests and certain expensive surgeries are done at subsidized rates established for the project,” said Lusine Galajyan, Country Director at Izmirlian Foundation Armenia.

In 2017, AGBU launched Claudia Nazarian Medical Center, where Syrian-Armenian doctors are employed. They provide first aid and consultation and refer the patients to the Izmirlian Medical Center if necessary.

Beneficiaries

65-year-old Khoren-Haroutiun Baliozian is a beneficiary of the project on “Health care support to vulnerable Syrian Armenians residing in Armenia”. He arrived in Armenia in 2013, having spent some time in captivity. The health problems began immediately after he reached Armenia.

“After all I went through, the issues with my heart are the “slightest”. There are other more serious issues, which I don’t want to discuss. I’ve had my latest surgery a few days ago, so it is only three days I have been discharged from the hospital. The program application process is very easy and smooth. When you come here, they open hearts and doors and close your wallet. I didn’t pay a single penny all this time,” said Baliozian.

Mary Parutagchian is 21, and she came to the Izmirlian Medical Center with kidney issues. Her mother, Sateh, had already benefited from the program and referred Mary to the polyclinic as soon as they knew she had health issues.

“I could hardly walk, so we went to the AGBU polyclinic first. They opened a medical form for me to find out what was wrong and shortly I was referred to the Izmirlian Medical Center. I gave the record to the chief physician and he sent it to the Foundation,” recalled Ms. Parutagchian.

24 hours later, Mary started the antibiotic therapy at the Medical Center. According to Mary, she was charged neither for the X-ray diagnostics nor for other tests. She paid only for the private ward after refusing to stay in the public one, which was offered to her free of charge.

“I would have to spend over AMD 240,000 if I had to pay for my treatment, but within the framework of the project everything is free,” she said.

Challenges

The project on “Health care support to vulnerable Syrian Armenians residing in Armenia” does not yet foresee heart surgeries. The Foundation also cooperates with the government to attract state assistance funds in case of expensive surgeries.

“However, the state assistance financing does not cover the entire cost, so the Foundation, the Church and the Medical Center provide co-financing,” explained Lusine Galajyan.

The Izmirlian Foundation has established a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in the first stage of the program to do the performance monitoring as well as the impact assessment of the project and to take remedy actions in time.

“The main challenge had to do with coordination, as to how to engage all the parties.

A project beneficiary may receive medical support multiple times without exceeding the maximum threshold of financial assistance (AMD 500,000) per person. “This is so called “honesty threshold” ensuring equal access to the project for all beneficiaries,” said Ms. Galajyan.

During the past nine months of 2018 there had been 99 surgeries done. There are no common diseases prevailing among Syrian-Armenians, however, acute health problems are prevalent among the people who escaped the war,” said Armen Charchyan, Executive Director of the Izmirlian Medical Center.

“Stress, psychological issues, constant tension, vague prospects of the future strengthen diseases. All types of chronic diseases are in the passive phase in peaceful environment, while they become active in stressful environment,” noted Mr. Charchyan.

According to Mr. Charchyan, the medical staff considers its work as being a part of the program a mission. He underlined that it is also a duty, since for the Syrian-Armenians the support is highly desired. “We must keep in mind that these people had to flee their home and they need more attention”, said Charchyan.