HAGHTANAK, Armenia — An inspiring story of the Entrepreneurs in Health (EIH) program of the Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH), American University of Armenia (AUA), tells how a young woman decided to make a difference in her border community. Having no pharmacies in the village of around 1,400 residents, Lena Khachikyan, a nurse and mother of three children from Haghtanak village, made a brave decision to become an entrepreneur in health.
“There were several reasons for my decision,” confesses Khachikyan. “First of all, my husband was a migrant worker, and we had to come up with a solution that would allow him to stay in his homeland, with his family. Second, the establishment of this pharmacy solved the gap of much-demanded services: people used to travel 10-12 kilometers to the nearest pharmacy, so the cost of traveling frequently exceeded the actual cost of medicine several times. Now we have customers from many nearby villages and even from the town of Noyemberyan. Third, I was never employed in my life, and was pursuing to realize my potential, while being able to look after my children.”
After completing all the necessary courses, Khachikyan successfully presented her Business and Quality Assurance plans, which were approved by the EIH Executive Committee. She received financial assistance from the EIH in the form of a low interest rate business loan for the purpose of purchasing equipment and pharmaceuticals.
“We were in the process of construction when we accidentally learned about the EIH program. Without its financial support, it would have taken us several years to complete the preparation and launch our pharmacy. What is more, my participation in the program gave me the knowledge needed for the overall management and organization of the work, as well as quality control,” says Khachikyan.
The aim of EIH is to improve access to quality health services in rural communities of Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk through introduction of advanced technologies and innovative approaches supporting healthcare professionals to develop private health practices.
The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research, and evaluation, health care delivery, and management.