Strengthening Armenia’s Primary Healthcare and Laboratory Systems
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YEREVAN, Armenia — The American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Health, developed and implemented a series of training sessions for primary healthcare (PHC) providers and laboratory specialists throughout 2022. The objective of these sessions was to enhance professional knowledge and skills for managing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. These professional development activities were conducted within the framework of the “Support to Control COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases Outbreak” project funded by USAID.
The training materials used in these sessions followed international best practices and integrated findings from assessments conducted by the researchers of the Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development. Additionally, the CHS team engaged local and international experts in the development of the training curricula and materials for both instructors and healthcare specialists.
Some of these instrumental experts included Dr. Lorky Libaridian, a practicing physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts and expert in PHC system and quality of care, led the development of the training curricula for PHC providers and facility managers. The content covered topics related to COVID-19 mitigation, vaccination, patient counseling, as well as data and media literacy. Also, Dr. Karine Teymurazyan, a local expert in laboratory field services and quality assurance consultancy, guided the curriculum for laboratory specialists and managers. Content heavily focused on the principles of quality and biosafety in laboratories and data literacy in quality assurance practices.
A variety of interactive exercises were conducted during the sessions such as group brainstorming, role playing, problem solving, and relevant games that integrated training materials and individual experiences to allow for information sharing.
Overall, the program was highly successful, resulting in training of nearly 190 PHC providers — including family physicians, general practitioners, PHC facility managers — and 130 laboratory specialists and managers from urban and rural facilities of Yerevan and the regions of Armenia. The effectiveness of the training program was evaluated through pre- and post-training tests that showed an average knowledge improvement of 30% in the topics covered. Participants expressed satisfaction with the content and organization of the training, highlighting that the sessions were very motivating, informative, and professionally delivered.
The professional development activities will continue in 2023 and target PHC nurses and specialists, including cardiologists, endocrinologists, and other professionals that provide essential care in PHC facilities.
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.