CHS Researchers Published in BMC Primary Care Journal

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YEREVAN, Armenia — The Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) recently published an article in BMC Primary Care, an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal with a special focus on topics related to health services research in primary care settings and health promotion. The article is authored by Lusine Aslanyan, BS (MPH ‘18); Zaruhi Arakelyan, MD (MPH ‘16); Astghik Atanyan, MD (MPH ‘18); Arpine Abrahamyan, MD (MPH .19); Manya Karapetyan, MSW (MPH ‘17); and Serine Sahakyan, RN (MPH ‘15).

The article “Primary healthcare providers challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study” presents research conducted within the scope of the “Support to control COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks” project. The latter aims to strengthen the national capacity to control COVID-19 and other communicable disease outbreaks and emergencies of potential public health concern, advancing public health emergency preparedness and response strategy in Armenia. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of AUA and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.

The paper presents the findings from qualitative research that explores primary healthcare providers’ experiences with preparedness for and response to the coronavirus pandemic in Armenia. The study has revealed that the uneven supply distribution impacted the work of primary care providers. Their experiences during the pandemic were adversely affected by difficulties in specimen collection and a lack of appropriate laboratory facilities. The investigation brought to light the health systems’ lack of preparedness to organize proper home visits for healthcare providers and the challenges medical professionals faced to win patients’ trust during the pandemic. The research findings also highlight the necessity of providing primary care professionals with training to help improve their patient counseling skills and assigning other bodies responsibility for risk communication on their behalf.

The study has also revealed that primary healthcare providers play an essential role in the healthcare system’s preparedness for and response to public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

In light of the study’s findings, the research team recommends prioritizing rural primary healthcare development, ensuring appropriate supply distribution, developing comprehensive protocols on safe home visits and specimen collection and testing, and training primary healthcare providers on risk communication, patient-centeredness, and proper use of personal protective equipment.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.