Los Angeles, CA – For the fourth time since 2015, Los Angeles-based Armenia Fund and Adventist Health will implement a joint medical mission to Noyemberyan Hospital, in Armenia’s Tavush Region, from September 22 through 26. This year’s mission will mark a major watershed as it will also include a comprehensive medical mission to the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center, in Artsakh, from September 27 through October 5.
The missions to Noyemberyan and Stepanakert will be carried out by a volunteer team of over 60 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals from the Adventist Health Southern California Region, which includes three hospitals in Glendale, Simi Valley, and East Los Angeles. The team will provide an extensive range of free medical services — including primary and specialty care, various tests and screenings, and surgeries — to thousands of patients from throughout Tavush as well as the Lori Region; and, for the first time, thousands from Stepanakert and other regions in Artsakh.
“We are overjoyed to help the people of Armenia and Artsakh,” says Dr. Arby Nahapetian, Medical Officer for Adventist Health Southern California. “Our vision for this mission trip goes beyond traveling there for a few weeks each year, providing critical medical care for those in need in a sustainable fashion. We want to increase life expectancy for these people — and the best way we can do that is by partnering with the local care teams and giving them the education, training, and resources needed for long-term sustainable care.”
As in previous years, the Adventist Health team will work closely with colleagues at the Noyemberyan Hospital and continue to help enhance their skills, with the goal of expanding the hospital’s capacities. To this end, the work of Adventist Health will once again be complemented by Armenia Fund’s provision of material assistance to the hospital. To be delivered to both Noyemberyan Hospital and the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center prior to the start of the medical missions, the assistance shipments will include close to 4.5 tons of high-quality pharmaceuticals, equipment, and supplies.
The shipments will include state-of-the-art ophthalmology and gastroenterology equipment, which have been donated by Chevy Chase Surgery Center, in Los Angeles. The equipment, including advanced scopes, will significantly help boost the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center’s surgical capabilities in the fields of ophthalmology and gastroenterology. After being trained by surgeons and specialists from the US using these leading-edge equipment and instruments, surgeons at the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center will be able to use the very latest techniques to perform phaco eye-cataract surgeries and conduct colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures.
During the forthcoming mission to Noyemberyan, particular emphasis will be placed on orthopedic interventions and women’s health, based on the latest assessments of local needs and experience from past missions. The services will include tests and screenings such as Pap smears and mammograms, and a complement of gynecological procedures. As for the launch of the medical mission to the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center this year, its primary objective is to elevate the professional and technical capacities of the institution to the next level. The Adventist Health team will not only introduce the hospital’s medical staff to new, cutting-edge interventions and surgeries, but will also provide them with advanced trainings, from basic medical skills to the utilization of new equipment, including the ophthalmology and gastroenterology machinery donated by Chevy Chase Surgery Center.
“With their extraordinary commitment, compassion, and sheer generosity of spirit, the doctors and nurses from Adventist Health have established a whole new benchmark for volunteer service, starting with the very first year of our joint missions,” stated Maria Mehranian, President of Armenia Fund. “Dedication of this level certainly stems from the joy of providing care to thousands of low-income patients from across Tavush, a strategically important border region, as well as Lori. These individuals and families would otherwise be unable to receive the vital medical services they need.”
“This year, with our mission’s expansion into Artsakh, the work of the medical team will be all the more rewarding, as it will play an instrumental role in the further development of the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center,” said Sarkis Kotanjian, Executive Director of Armenia Fund. “The hospital has made great strides in recent years. What we’ll try to achieve in September is to help it make a considerable leap forward, by significantly boosting its capacities.”
The medical missions to Noyemberyan have been carried out through a special partnership between Los Angeles-based Armenia Fund and Adventist Health, with the twin aims of helping upgrade Armenia’s rural medical infrastructure and providing much-needed medical care to residents of Tavush. The forthcoming missions will significantly expand the scope of these aims with the inclusion of the Stepanakert Republican Medical Center in the program.
Through the past three Adventist Health/Armenia Fund missions to Noyemberyan, close to 5,750 patients have been provided with high-quality care in the areas of internal medicine, cardiology, pulmonology, gynecology, neurology, orthopedics, and pediatrics. The services have included 235 surgeries, ranging from gallbladder, hernia, orthopedic, and maxillofacial procedures to removals of lumps and tumors. A highlight of last year’s mission was the fact that the Adventist Health team was joined by a group of surgery and anesthesiology residents from Yerevan State Medical University. These future medical professionals were paired with Adventist Health surgeons and anesthesiologists so they could observe, learn from, and participate in the work of the seasoned caregivers during the week-long mission.
Ever since the inception of the program in 2015, Los Angeles-based Armenia Fund has also provided Noyemberyan Hospital with material assistance in conjunction with the medical missions. In the run-up to each mission, Armenia Fund has shipped large quantities of medical equipment, surgical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and other required medical/surgical items to Noyemberyan Hospital, in support of the project. Armenia Fund arranges for the transportation, logistics, and clearance of all these equipments and supplies. In addition, the Fund plays a lead role in ground operations, making sure the many moving parts and pieces of the medical missions work seamlessly and properly.
Noyemberyan Hospital was completely rebuilt and modernized by Armenia Fund’s Swiss and German partner organizations in 2011. The Stepanakert Republican Medical Center was built by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund in 2013. The facility is adjacent to the Stepanakert Pagoumian Polyclinic as well as the Stepanakert Oncology Center, both of which were likewise constructed by the Fund — in 2006 and 2017, respectively.