Improving quality of life in rural communities throughout Armenia is a priority for many in the diaspora, including groups whose focus is training and skill-building. A team of doctors from the Fresno Medical Mission chose to partner with COAF on a recent trip to Armenia. This was the fourth such trip to rural Armenian villages, and their first collaboration with COAF. The one-week trip provided free medical care for children living in COAF’s supported communities in the regions of Armavir, Lori and Aragatsotn.
A pediatrician part of the Fresno Medical Mission, Dr. Garine Lepejian, describes working alongside COAF doctors on the trip. “I really admired their knowledge and dedication. Our joint working group proved to be very productive and we are going to continue the partnership by expanding our interventions and including advanced trainings for COAF’s doctors next year,” says Dr. Lepejian.
This initiative is backed by Berj Apkarian, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno, and is intended as a multifaceted support system to rural doctors. The efforts include updated training for rural doctors, implementation of care procedures, and distribution of medical tools and machinery. The initiative encourages both Armenian and non-Armenian qualified doctors to visit various regions in Armenia to share their knowledge and experience with local medical professionals, and provides free medical care to rural areas lacking medical supplies. The group of health practitioners who visited COAF-supported villages included 3 dentists, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, a cardiologist, a vascular surgeon, pediatricians, and nurses specialized in child development.
One of the visiting nurses, Marianne Kardian, has been working with children of varying abilities and their families to provide early intervention and early detection of medical conditions. She also advised parents on the best methods they can employ when helping and assisting their children on a daily basis, to maintain good daily practices for optimal health.
Dr. Lepejian stated her bond with Armenia was strengthened with the appointment of Mr. Apkarian as honorary consul of Fresno. Lepejian says of the mission, “we knew Armenia was in dire need of medical supplies and expensive medical equipment. Sending doctors to conferences was part of Mr. Apkarian’s job, therefore when he decided to start the mission, we believed in him and joined the endeavor. In the beginning we intended to do it once, but the successful trip and the financial support motivated us to come back again with the determination to support Armenia for the fourth time and provide new Ultrasound and other types of equipment.”
Dr. Lepejian also stressed that rural doctors are qualified and skilled, despite the lack of basic essentials. She reiterated the importance of cooperating with reliable organizations, and how COAF’s operations in rural areas match the Fresno Medical Mission’s beliefs and objectives. Dr. Lepejian says with COAF’s doctors was an amazing experience for the team. “They are very organized, skilled and supportive – carefully observing our interventions, facilitating our job and providing us with all necessary information,” said Dr. Lepejian.