Dr. Karine Harutyunyan is the sole doctor for the 1,200 people who live in a remote part of Armenia’s Syunik Province. The 67-year-old doctor spent 30 years working as a pediatrician at a different hospital. In 2008, she participated in FAR’s CME program for the first time. Then in 2009, she moved to nearby Gorayk Medical Center where she typical sees about 20 patients a day.
Last month, Dr. Harutyunyan joined CME for a second time, focusing on how to improve her skills as a general practitioner. While based in Yerevan, she did remote consultations and traveled back to Gorayk on the weekends to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
“Only about 400 people had been vaccinated at the time and due to misinformation many people didn’t want to get vaccinated,” she said. So, Dr. Harutyunyan decided to start community information sessions with them to explain the benefits of the vaccine and to answer their questions. “We will overcome this pandemic through vaccination, so now my compatriots know that they should get it to be on the safe side for themselves and their children and seniors.”
She has noticed that more people have gotten vaccinated since her sessions started. Her sessions are also part of a long history of her quest in public health education. When she first arrived in the region Dr. Harutyunyan started welcoming people to come to meetings where she taught them about things like the importance of breast feeding and childhood nutrition. She credits CME for helping her to become a better healthcare provider.
“Medicine is a constantly evolving science. If you are constantly updating your knowledge, then you can do everything,” she said. “As long as I work, I will continue this important path.”