FAR continues to find all possible avenues of support for the people of Artsakh after last year’s devastating war, including ensuring basic healthcare services for those who remained in Artsakh’s rural communities.
The FAR-supported Nurses of Artsakh training program, which was relaunched in 2021, aims to provide crucial training for nurse practitioners of Artsakh’s Askeran Region. A well-trained healthcare workforce ensures the people in this remote community of Artsakh receive the medical attention they so desparately need, especially with so many health challenges attributable to the recent Artsakh war and postwar psychological trauma.
Trainer Elza Avanesyan oversaw the most recent training session for the nurses of Askeran. Elza enrolled in a “Training of Trainers” course in Yerevan 2 years ago, and mentioned that the current program is in high demand among the nurses, who see it as an opportunity bolster their knowledge and skills. “These nurses constitute the largest group in the rural health workforce, so people there depend heavily on them for healthcare services. Unfortunately, we have a huge gap in healthcare personnel especially after the 2020 Artsakh war, so we would like such programs to be held more often,” she said.
Through the two-week training, nurse Marine Avanesyan from the village of Shosh in the Askeran region not only had the chance to update her knowledge but also built solid connections with other nurses from different medical centers around Askeran, which could prove life-saving when they face practical challenges. “We don’t have a doctor in Shosh; it’s three of us currently – all nurse practitioners. We used to serve 600 people before the war, now it’s 150 people. Besides Shosh, we also serve the population of the nearby village Mkhitarashen – around 100 people,” she said noting that in remote villages, like Shosh or Mkhitarashen, they may well be the sole healthcare provider.
The nurses take theoretical and practical exams both before and after the training to demonstrate their knowledge. “I did bad at the first exam, but I’ve done well at this one. I’m 100% sure about that,” said Marine holding the theory book of the training program tightly in her hands. “This will be my bible,” she said with a frank smile.
FAR initiated its Nurses of Artsakh Training Program in 2018 and has been successfully implementing the course for two years now, thus empowering more than 250 primary healthcare providers. When Artsakh was plunged into war last year, the program was suspended, and resources were reallocated to meet other urgent healthcare challenges. Fortunately, FAR was able to restart trainings in 2021 through generous support from theNazarian Family (USA), and plans to provide training in the coming months for 105 more nurse practitioners of Askeran, Martuni, and Martakert Regions in Artsakh.
The people of Artsakh continue to face tremendous challenges every day in all facets of their lives. FAR is committed to their ensuring their safety, well-being, and livelihoods, no matter the obstacles.