Derenik Dumanyan, The Minister of Health of the Republic of Armenia, discusses the priorities for the healthcare sector.
European Times: What are the main goals for Armenia’s healthcare sector?
Derenik Dumanyan: My main priority is to make healthcare services as affordable as possible for every person in Armenia. Other priorities include encouraging healthy lifestyles for our citizens, which involves implementing various programs. The Ministry also continues to improve Armenia’s healthcare system. We have a sufficiently extended network of primary and secondary healthcare institutions where we provide professional medical care. We have completed the construction and renovation of 201 ambulatories, making sure that they are well equipped and can solve the health problems of the rural population. We have also improved links between regional and capital’s third level medical centres. We are in the process of restructuring our hospitals to ensure that they operate at an optimum level. One of our main goals is to continue to improve the quality of healthcare in Armenia.
European Times: What are some of the challenges the healthcare system faces?
Derenik Dumanyan: In addition to the need to continue to improve quality, we have to cope with funding challenges. No healthcare Minister in the world has enough funding to fulfil all needs of the healthcare sector, and Armenia is not an exception. We are trying to improve the allocation of funds. Bringing healthcare to the most vulnerable population groups is another challenge, and we have increased our funding for this direction starting in 2014.
European Times: What are some of your other current projects?
Derenik Dumanyan: Aside from primary and secondary healthcare services we will develop the third level medical services. For the first time, we are building a new oncology centre of excellence in the frames of a public-private partnership. The projection, the construction of the radiation treatment building, as well as its enrichment with the latest medical equipment will be implemented within Credit Program of the World Bank. It will provide treatment not only for patients from Armenia but also for patients through the whole region. The introduction of mandatory medical insurance starting from January 2015 will also be a major project. We have many other projects underway in partnership with USAID, WHO, UNICEF, the Russian Federation and other partners.
European Times: What is your personal message to the international community about the healthcare in Armenia?
Derenik Dumanyan: Being a member- state of the World Health Organization we have put a task before us to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases within the comprehensive policy framework of European region “Health 2020” and to reach this aim we are starting a great work for the implementation of a healthy lifestyle.