American University of Armenia launches primary health care training program in Nagorno Karabagh

On March 13, 2006, 52 doctors and nurses from the Martuni and Askeran regions of Nagorno Karabakh (NK) completed basic first aid and emergency skills training. This 40+ hour first aid training course is the first of several training programs for doctors and nurses who provide outpatient primary care in NK organized by the Center for Health services Research and Development at the American University of Armenia (AUA/CHSR) as part of the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) funded Humanitarian Assistance Program for Nagorno Karabakh (HAPNK) implemented by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR).

DSC02212s The Armenian Red Cross Society, whose trainers have excelled at European regional competitions each of the past three years, is conducting the first aid training course according to international standards. This means graduates of the training program receive a certificate, which is recognized throughout Europe. Attendance for this first round of classes was 100% and every student successfully completed the written and practical examinations necessary to earn the certification.

AUA/CHSR Program Manager Gohar Hovhanissyan, MD, MPH, congratulated the graduates on their achievements, noting that in the coming weeks, over 50 doctors and 250 nurses throughout NK will receive this invaluable training. Other dignitaries attending the inaugural graduation ceremony included FAR representative Mr. Sevak Manukyan, Deputy Chief of Party for the HAPNK project and George Tuardovsky, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation.

Other planned training programs for NK health providers as part of the HAPNK project address integrated management of childhood illnesses; management of adult diseases, with particular emphasis on chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension; and health promotion/patient counseling skills. In several areas of NK, villagers will also be trained to promote healthy lifestyles andIMG_0334s to encourage people to seek appropriate medical care when disease warning signs are observed.

These health-oriented training programs complement a larger set of renovation and construction efforts ranging from shelter to schools to irrigation being implemented by FAR within the USAID funded project. AUA/CHSR provides technical support to health sector activities, which includes renovating health posts and providing needed medical supplies to effectively implement the medical training techniques taught in these courses.