Many developing (and sometimes developed) nations fail to grasp this basic truth, often times neglecting to invest in the provision of proper healthcare for this vital segment of their populations.
Armenia too has struggled with its own challenges around women's healthcare as it has worked, over the last twenty years, to pick up the pieces of a healthcare system shattered by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But recent years have seen tremendous progress, both in Armenia and Artsakh. Throughout the capital and provinces, new hospitals are being built and old ones renovated.
In partnership with communities in Armenia, Artsakh, and the global diaspora, Armenia Fund has made serious strides in developing the modern infrastructure and methodologies required to address some of Armenia's most pressing healthcare challenges.
Just this week, Armenia Fund's Montreal affiliate launched the second phase of an extensive project to completely renovate the Abovyan Maternity Hospital in Armenia's Kotayk region. Established in 1985, the three-story maternity hospital serves the city of Abovyan and the surrounding 20 rural communities.
Sponsored by benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Vrej and Imasdouhi Nigoghossian of Canada, the project's second phase will see the complete overhaul of the hospital's postnatal department, transforming it into a state-of-the-art facility. The scope of renovations include the installation of up-to-date water, heating and electrical systems, as well as the replacement of floor tiling, doors, and windows. In addition, all restrooms will be upgraded and the department will be equipped with fire-protection and air-conditioning systems.
The first phase of the project, also sponsored by the Nigoghossians, was completed in 2010 and resulted in the reconstruction and modernization of the facility's delivery and surgery ward.
According to the hospital's chief physician, Dr. Larissa Madoyan, the delivery ward had never undergone a major refurbishment during its 25 years of operation and it was uncertain how much longer the staff would have managed if it weren't for the project.
Apart from basic renovations, the first phase also included long-overdue structural upgrades that enhanced sanitation and hygiene. Four new delivery rooms were also added to provide expectant mothers optimal care and the comfort to give birth in the privacy of their own designated rooms.
The changes are already contributing to a rise in the region's birth rate, a development which Dr. Madoyan considers among the most important outcomes of the project.
In 2011, the hospital delivered an unprecedented 1,250 babies, provided consultations to 1,320 pregnant women, outpatient care to 17,376 women, and inpatient care to 2,583 women.
For Madoyan, it's not at all surprising that patients from Abovyan's surrounding communities now travel here to receive care. In fact, it's a welcomed development tied directly to the investments made in revitalizing the facility.
The hospital now provides ree preventive care, including regular checkups, ultrasounds, and mammograms, as well as treatment for a broad range of conditions. Madoyan attributes this growth, in part, to the hospital's vastly improved amenities, the high level of trust inspired by its staff of specialists, and the overall development of healthcare in the area.
As our healthcare providers continue to help raise awareness of women's health issues through local clinics, we've seen a major increase in the number of patients between the ages of 30 and 60 who seek care at the hospital.
The Abovyan Maternity Hospital renovation project is only one of many healthcare projects currently underway in Armenia and Artsakh.
The project of nation building has not been easy for many of the former Soviet Countries, especially Armenia with its current geopolitical challenges. The united will of the Armenian people has, however, given our small country the resources necessary to overcome the challenges to building the foundations of a sustainable state.
Whether it be in the realm of healthcare, education or agriculture, the Armenia of today is in a strong position to continue developing into a modern state we can all be proud of.
All we need to do is play our part in building the nation. Donate today to help create change in Armenia and Artsakh.
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Source: Armenia Fund, 25 March 2012