March 17 marked the launch of “Medical aid for Armenia-based Syrian-Armenians in need” program in Yerevan, which is initiated and supported by Izmirlian Foundation. The program is co-financed by Izmirlian Foundation and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and will be implemented by Izmirlian Medical Center. Ministry of Diaspora, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues NGO and ALEPPO Compatriotic Charitable Organization perform as partner agencies.
Mediamax talked with Izmirlian Foundation Armenia Country Director Lusine Galajyan to find out details of the program.
The program’s main objective is to support Syrian-Armenians’ integration in Armenia. “When people, who were forced to leave their living place, face problems with job and daily life, medical issues become a huge burden that hinders their integration. We received requests from the Ministry of Diaspora and NGOs, asking us to provide medical aid to Syrian-Armenians at Izmirlian Medical Center. Finally, we made a decision to turn that into systematized assistance, and so the program was born,” Lusine Galajyan told.
The program is designed for 16y.o. and older Armenians, who arrived from Syria and are considered poor. “Our research showed that Syrian-Armenian children rarely have problems with healthcare in Armenia. Those problems are usually solved through state healthcare services. Moreover, Karagheusian Foundation helps with treating eyesight and dental issues,” said Izmirlian Foundation Armenia Country Director. Nevertheless, she noted that the foundation will try to aid the Syrian-Armenian children with extraordinary health issues that require urgent help.
How is the poverty level measured and where do Syrian-Armenians apply to get medical aid within the program? Lusine Galajyan informed that beneficiaries should apply to the Ministry of Diaspora, and/or Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians’ Issues NGO, and ALEPPO Compatriotic Charitable Organization. Those agencies will determine first if the applicant’s health issues cannot be solved through state healthcare services. If that question has a negative answer, the applicant will fill a form that will define their level of need.
“We will take account not only the forms, but also estimation from the two mentioned NGOs, because they know the Syrian-Armenian community very well,” Lusine Galajyan remarked.
The program’s partner AGBU treats Syrian-Armenian patients at Claudia Nazarian medical center, which employs only Syrian-Armenian doctors. They will direct their patients to Izmirlian Medical Center if needed.
Photo: Izmirlian Foundation
The program has budget of USD 150 000. USD 100k out of the sum is provided by Izmirlian Foundation, and USD 50k comes from Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Izmirlian Medical Center will treat the patients for up to 45% discount, thus refusing profit from the program.
The Center’s experts calculated that “Medical aid for Armenia-based Syrian-Armenians in need” program can operate for around 1.5 year with the current budget.
As Izmirlian Medical Center doesn’t perform cardiovascular surgeries, it cannot serve program’s beneficiaries with that kind of problem. However, Lusine Galajyan assured that as before, AGBU and the Armenian Evangelical Church agreed to provide help for Syrian-Armenians with urgent cardiovascular issues.
“Housing and education issues of our compatriots from Syria are mostly covered by the state, charitable and international agencies. I believe that the healthcare program we implement with partners will facilitate Syrian-Armenians’ integration in Armenia and will help them feel more confident,” Lusine Galajyan noted. She informed that other donors can join the program if they wish, and Izmirlian Foundation is ready to discuss it with them.