For six years, FAR’s Continuing Medical Education Program (CME) has enabled doctors throughout Armenia to receive the training they need in order to provide better medical care to their patients. Now, through funding and support from the American Armenian Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO), doctors in Nagorno-Karabagh and Javakhk, have the opportunity to receive training through CME, and ultimately improve the healthcare in both of these regions. FAR officially launched this new component of the CME program during a conference at its Yerevan office on February 10.
Prior to independence, Armenian physicians were able to undergo training every five years, which was paid for by the government. Since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, however, many cannot afford the cost. While CME has helped more than 250 doctors receive training at Yerevan’s clinics and hospitals for free, the scope of the program did not extend outside of Armenia’s borders until now.
Now, doctors from Akhalkalak and Stepanakert hospitals will be able to enhance their professional knowledge and skills; master innovative approaches, methods and technologies; and join the extensive network of CME healthcare professionals. Such a program is gravely needed in these areas. Currently, there are no opportunities for Armenian doctors to receive training in either Karabagh or Javakhk. Physicians are expected to travel to Armenia to do so, but low salaries make such an opportunity largely unattainable. For these physicians training has, in many ways, become a luxury.
Healthcare programs have always been a key part of FAR’s mission to strengthen Armenia. Through this new initiative, for the next two years, 80 doctors from Javakhk and Karabagh will participate in the CME program. The new AAHPO-CME program will be implemented by FARFAA in cooperation with Armenia’s Ministry of Health, Nagorno-Karabagh’s Ministry of Health, several of Javakhk’s hospitals and health centers, along with leading Yerevan clinics.
Vice Chairman of the U.S. Eastern Diocesan Council Dr. Raffi Hovhannisian; the Armenian Deputy Minister of Health Tigran Sahakyan; Alen Poghosyan, Deputy Minister of Health for Nagorno-Karabagh; Yerevan State University Vice Rector Gevorg Yaghjyan and FAR Fellowship Alumni Association (FARFAA) Director Anna Shirinyan, were among those who attended the conference.
In his speech, Dr. Hovhannisyan expressed his hope that the new program will be distinguished for its effectiveness and transparency, just like other FAR programs. He also emphasized the sustainability of the program. All other guests expressed their excitement and confidence in the project and its potential to continue to transform the state of Armenian healthcare.