Pharmaceutical Distribution Project (2011)
Pharmaceutical Distribution Program
The distribution of pharmaceuticals is UMCOR's longest-running project in Armenia. Since 1994, UMCOR has provided hundreds of clinics throughout the country with essential medicines and medical supplies. These clinics prescribe UMCOR medicines free-of-charge to vulnerable populations. UMCOR is renowned for this type of intervention. Annually, over 115 health posts, clinics, orphanages and schools receive medicines and medical supplies.
The project is supported by the U.S. Department of State and closely coordinated with policy makers and regulators at Armenia's Ministry of Health. The medicines and supplies are received as donations from private institutions such as Interchurch Medical Assistance, Project Hope, Heart To Heart International, and AmeriCares.
Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB
Since 2003, with the financial support of the Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund, UMCOR has been implementing the “Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB” project. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB in rural communities by increasing access to health information and services.
In the framework of the project, the following activities are implemented:
- Trainings of local primary health care (PHC) providers on Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for HIV, STI management, TB case detection and follow-up of TB patients' treatment;
- Free-of-charge services (VCT, STI and TB management) provided in target rural communities by the Mobile Medical Team (comprised of three doctors: STI, TB and laboratory specialists);
- Public health education activities including peer education of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention, as well as development and distribution of informational materials;
- Distribution of condoms to persons at risk.
Over 2,000 Community Health Volunteers have been trained in to provide peer education on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention.
UMCOR works collaboratively with the Armenian Ministry of Health, the National Center for AIDS Prevention, the National Tuberculosis Program, local government officials, community-based healthcare providers, and other NGOs to implement the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB program.
In addition, UMCOR Armenia actively participates in HIV/TB advocacy activities by organizing events for the AIDS Candlelight Day (May 2Ist), World AIDS Day (December 1), World TB Day (March 24th), and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Global Fund and UNAIDS
In April 2005, UMCOR became a member of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, as well as the UNAIDS Technical Working Group. These memberships allow UMCOR to be at the forefront of coordination on HIV/AIDS and TB related activities in Armenia. In collaboration with the Armenian National Center for AIDS Prevention (NCAP) and other partners, UMCOR participated in the implementation of "The Second Generation HIV Surveillance in the Republic of Armenia, 2005."
Strengthening Public Health in Armenia
In August 2003, UMCOR signed an agreement with the U.S Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the project, “Strengthening Public Health in Armenia.” UMCOR trained Armenian leaders and public health professionals in practical approaches to public health education. Eight individuals, including two UMCOR employees, received training in the U.S. In the framework of the project, UMCOR developed educational brochures and flyers containing public health related information. Among the issues addressed were TB and HIV/AIDS.
Social Transition Program
UMCOR provided health services through its Mobile Medical Teams as part of the USAID-funded Social Transition Program (STP). The first MMT began operating in Gegharkunik Marz in March of 2001. The team consisted of four doctors: a therapist, a pediatrician, a gynecologist and a laboratory specialist. The MMT provided health services to eleven communities in Gegharkunik Marz. The range of health services included medical consultations/counseling, provision of prescribed pharmaceuticals, and laboratory analysis. A second MMT started similar operations in thirteen communities of Lori Marz in January 2003. Within the framework of the STP, UMCOR also implemented a Community Health Care Workers (CHCW) Training Project. In total, 96 CHCWs in eight communities received training on various health topics including topics related to HIV/AIDS and the prevention of STIs and TB.
Hatsik Ambulatory Clinic in Armavir Marz is one of the health facilities receiving medicines and medical supplies in the framework of Medical Commodities Distribution Program.
“There is indeed a huge need in such projects,” Dr. Bagrat Mukhaelyan, the head of the clinic, said. “Not all the villagers have the resources to pay for necessary medication. Permanent lack of money makes them choose between food and medicines which is unfair. It’s easy to guess that they’d choose to ignore treatment. As a result, an increase of complicated and/or chronic cases is inevitable. Thanks to the Pharmaceutical Distribution Project, essential and expensive drugs have become accessible to the vulnerable villagers free of charge,” he continued.
“The importance of availability of UMCOR pharmaceuticals cannot be overestimated. Particularly, I’d like to mention the anti-hypertensive medicines such as Losartan, Lisinopril, Enalapril and others. Since arterial hypertension remains the most prevalent health issue among the aged and even middle age population, and is very dangerous by its complications such as heart attacks and strokes, the need in anti-hypertensive drugs is always high,” Dr. Mukhaelyan said.
Asya Kocharyan, the nurse who dispenses UMCOR medicines and is in charge of the distribution related paperwork, shared her impression of the project: “A whole community benefit from the project: patients receive prescribed medicines free of charge; kids from large families enjoy shampoos; mothers of newborns get nice layette kits for their babies.”
“It's obvious that the project is of a considerable assistance for both the clinic and the villagers. It helps to raise the quality of medical care what increases the villagers' trust and respect to the medical personnel. Giving a possibility of prescribing an adequate cure to our patients and providing them with appropriate medicines free of charge, the project helps to make our work more efficient,” the Head of the clinic concluded.