SPITAK- On June 27, 2016, while on its 52nd Medical Mission to Armenia, the Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP) celebrated the grand opening of its second Regional Eye Clinic in Armenia – and the first-ever eye clinic in the Lori province – the John and Hasmik Mgrdichian AECP Regional Eye Clinic in Spitak, Lori.
The opening ceremony was attended by AECP staff, including Founder Dr. Roger Ohanesian; Deputy Health Minister to Armenia Vahan Poghosyan; Governor of Lori Province Artur Nalbandyan; AECP benefactors; and special guests – including the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of John and Hasmik Mgrdichian.
The Regional Eye Clinic in Spitak is equipped with a state-of-the-art operating room, two exam rooms, multiple stations for doctors and nurses and the most advanced medical equipment- including cutting-edge telecommunications equipment that will enable local surgeons in Spitak to communicate in real-time with ophthalmologists in Yerevan for guidance and mentoring.
“By establishing secondary level eye clinics, we foster accessibility and the continuity of eye care services in the regions of Armenia for all income groups,” Dr. Ohanesian said. “Centers like this will provide care at no cost for patients living in poverty, as the AECP Mobile Eye Hospital does, while simultaneously offering paid services to those who are not considered socially vulnerable. This operation modality will enable the center to become self-sustainable in order to continue providing services at no charge for the socially disadvantaged [in Armenia.]”
Before the opening of this Regional Eye Clinic in Spitak, the only access to eye care for residents in the Lori province was through the AECP Mobile Eye Hospital, which visited the region only once every two years. While 40,000 Lori residents have been screened and treated through the Mobile Eye Hospital since 2005, residents in the region will now have access to eye care throughout the year without having to wait two years for the Mobile Eye Hospital to visit their region or having to travel to Yerevan for care.
As part of the Armenian EyeCare Project’s Five-for-Five campaign – five Regional Eye Clinics for $5 million by 2020 -The John and Hasmik Mgrdichian AECP Regional Eye Clinic in Spitak is the second AECP Regional Eye Clinic in Armenia. The clinic was funded by a generous gift from the family of John and Hasmik Mgrdichian and developed through the Regional Eye Clinic public-private partnership, which includes the Armenian EyeCare Project, the Ministry of Health of Armenia, the office of the Lori Governor and the Malayan Ophthalmological Center in Yerevan.
The first Regional Eye Clinic, the Haig Boyadjian AECP Regional Eye Clinic, located in Ijevan, Tavush, celebrated its grand opening last year, during the AECP’s 2015 Medical Mission to Armenia. The remaining three Regional Eye Clinics will be located in Gyumri, Shirak; Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor; and Kapan, Syunik.