For those who inhabit the region of Berd, which sits along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, the everyday risk of injury is very real. Here, the ongoing conflict with Azerbajian is palpable, with cross-border gunfire a somewhat normal occurrence. As a result, it’s imperative that local physicians be able to provide the appropriate care.

To help ensure that healthcare services in this region of Tavush Province are adequate, FAR held a five-day training starting on November 13th, on disaster medicine for healthcare professionals from Berd City and the villages of Artsvaberd, Aygedzor, Navur, Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, and Movses. The training was held as part of the healthcare component of the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).

The course enabled local doctors to not only enhance their theoretical knowledge of disaster medicine, but also put their skills into field-based practice. Four instructors from the Disaster Medicine Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia led the training.

The participants highlighted the importance of such a training in a region like theirs. “The training was very useful for us as healthcare service providers because we live in a region where tensions could at any moment reignite with appalling speed,” said Armine Melkumyan, a Pediatrician from Berd Medical Center.

Gayane Gevorgyan, a family doctor from the Primary Health Care Center in Navur Village, prioritized practical exercises as most useful. “We did everything with our own hands, even the artificial respiration and cardiac massage on mannequins that showed whether it was possible to save a life or not.”

Asya Mardanyan, a family doctor in Nerkin Karmiraghbyur Village, said there has been no such training during her entire career in the region. “We are very pleased with the trainers. We didn’t just participate in the program, we literally grabbed all the information we received during all five days,” she said. “We also learned a lot of new things, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The standard we knew was four compressions and one artificial respiration, while today’s practice requires 30 compressions and two artificial respiration in the case of adults.”

It was also important for doctors that the course provided them with 30 “Continuing Medical Education” credits, which are now mandatory for them to acquire every five years according to the Law on Medical Assistance and Care.

“In fact, any FAR training course is very effective and is very useful,” said Aygedzor’s family doctor Naira Grigoryan.

Hambardzum Simonyan, FAR Health Programs Director, said FAR considers the options available to local doctors, the population, and the local authorities while organizing a training. The approach was the same for the Disaster Medicine course. “Overall, the training was successful. First, its content was rich and informative. Also, it helped participants to obtain the CME credits, while not burdening their financial means,” he said.