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News - Yerevan Children’s Hospital No. 3 and Armenia Fund USA Celebrate a step towards renewal

Opening of new Giritliyan Wing

February 10, 2004  

 Yerevan, Armenia--It’s a sunny, Saturday afternoon in Yerevan and the Children’s Hospital No.3 in the Shengavit district is bustling with activity in preparation for the opening of their newly remodeled floor. Visitors, on their way to see children and grandchildren, carry plastic bags of food and provisions for the day’s lunch and dinner.

Recovery in Armenia is a family affair, where basic necessities such as nutrition and clean bedding are not provided for patients due to low funding. Visiting hospitalized family and friends involves the delivery of necessities such as food, sheets, towels and small comforts.

The Children’s Hospital No.3, which provides care for children from the ages of two to eighteen, is considered the primary emergency care provider for the region. It was built in 1982 and is exemplary of poor, soviet construction. It is in disrepair just two short decades after it was built. Buildings exhibiting Soviet style construction have proven structurally unreliable and are marked by an aesthetic style that is gray, dingy and unequivocally depressing.  There are countless hospitals scattered throughout Armenia and Karabakh that are considered places to die, as opposed to places to heal. One step into the dilapidated, dark and despairing rooms and hallways of Armenia’s hospitals, and you will understand why.

Steps Toward Recovery

The renovations at Yerevan’s Children’s Hospital No.3 mark steps toward a brighter future for healthcare in Armenia thanks to the generous donation of benefactor Agop Giritliyan. His donation of $130,000 was allotted toward the repair and furnishing of the third floor of Children’s Hospital No.3. The first two floors of the hospital were moderately renovated thanks to funding from the State Department. Giritliyan, who hails from Istanbul, is now 92 and is respected for his contributions to many charitable organizations in Turkey that assist more than 5,000 Armenian students. In Armenia he is affectionately known as the Santa Claus of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund.

“The third floor sets a new standard for hospitals,” said Dr. Nikolay Dallakian, the Hospital’s Director, during the opening ceremony. The walls of the third floor are painted white and decorated with inspirational art work appropriately created by other children. Every inch is well lit and newly furnished. There is a communal kitchen where mother’s can prepare food. The rooms have matching beds and nightstands and uniform bedding which will be cleaned and sterilized in state-of-the-art washing machines. The floors are tiled and the bathrooms gleam with new porcelain.

Where There is Will There is…

Lilit Mesrobyan and four-year-old daughter Nelly, who is recovering from her third operation since birth, are on the eighth floor. They’ve come from the Shirak Marz, near Gyumri for an operation, which took place nearly 15 days ago. Nelly has endured tremendous strain on her little body and is finally in the last stages of recovery. Today a nurse is wrapping one of her legs in a paraffin treatment to aid her recovery. Lilit comments, “I’m so grateful for the care the doctors have given Nelly. They have been so kind to us.”

The doctors and nurses who care for about a 100 patients every month in the dismal conditions on the hospital’s other floors, exhibit heroism on a daily basis. Armenia’s healthcare workers have the will; it is Armenia Fund USA’s mission to provide the way.

First Steps on a Long Journey

The Children’s Hospital’s annual budget of nearly $400,000 allocated through the Ministry of Health is barely sufficient enough to pay the salaries of its 550 employees and cover basic necessities such as public utilities. Though Dr. Dallakian is pleased that for the past two years the Ministry has been able to allocate these funds on a regular basis to repair essentials such as the heating mechanisms, but needless to say, there is still much to be done. The Hospital’s nine-story building has floors that range from acceptable to deplorable conditions. The newly remodeled third floor is the first step towards providing adequate care to children who are in desperate need of it.

Giritliyan has taken a bold step in breathing sustainability into this crucial hospital and the opportunity to continue what he has begun remains open. Every child and adult in Armenia and Karabakh deserves the right to proper health-care and accomplishing this calls for a myriad of programs and contributors.

The Children’s Hospital renovation is a working example of how Armenia Fund USA collaborates with special donors who have a specific philanthropic goal in mind. The Fund’s ongoing projects dedicated to the field of healthcare include the Polyclinic and Diagnostic Center in Stepanakert, its corresponding healthcare policy and training programs, and the Ororotz project aimed at giving newborns a healthy start. For more information, you can call Armenia Fund USA at 212-689-5307 or visit our website at www.armeniafundusa.org.

Armenia Fund USA is a non-profit 501 (C)(3) organization under U.S. law, and restricts its contributions exclusively to humanitarian aid projects as defined and determined by the Internal Revenue Code and prevailing rules and regulations. All contributions are tax deductible.