A Decade of Experience in Armenia: Improving Health and Health Care

The picture in 2001: A highly literate country with strong educational institutions, Armenia had the infrastructure in place to serve its three million citizens. Yet the health system was inefficient and not meeting the needs of the population. Armenia had too many specialist doctors, but not enough general practitioners. They had strong hospitals in the cities, but poorly maintained clinics in rural areas. Many Armenians were reluctant to use locally-available, but frequently poor-quality, health facilities.

Recognizing these weaknesses in the health system, the Armenian government prioritized health sector reforms, especially those that affected women and children, and improved primary health care. Beginning in 2001, IntraHealth International was invited by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to partner with the government of Armenia to improve primary care delivery in the country, beginning activities in one marz or district. Subsequently, IntraHealth expanded its collaboration with the government and other organizations to improve health care delivery throughout the country.

For the past decade, IntraHealth International has been collaborating with Armenian government and other local and international partners to increase access, quality and use of primary health services through the following:

• Reinforcing the quality of family medicine and nursing practice
Improving the health of Armenian women and children, by:

- Introducing and scaling up the Schools of Safe Motherhood
- Strengthening the quality of education and training programs in reproductive health
- Increasing the role of health workers in addressing violence against women

• Creating lasting partnerships between health facilities and the communities they serve.

“The key to our success in Armenia has been establishment of partnerships at the national, regional, service delivery, and community levels. Together we have been able to develop sustainable solutions and bring tangible results touching the lives of many Armenians and leave behind the legacy of our support.”—Inna Sacci, Armenia Chief of Party, 2006-2011

“The biggest highlight in my four years in Armenia was seeing real change happen—seeing health workers get new information and run with it, seeing new policies leading to changes in the health system. You could literally watch the transformation.”—Rebecca Kohler, IntraHealth Armenia Country Director, 2002-2006

IntraHealth has worked in close collaboration with the Armenia Ministry of Health, marz (county) health departments, marz advisory groups, and community partnerships as well as with support from USAID, the Burns Supper Group, and Open Society Institute. More information on the individual Armenia-based projects is available here: PRIME II, The Primary Health Care Reform Project[1], Project NOVA[2], and NOVA2[3]

[1] Led by Emerging Markets Group, Ltd.

[2] Led by Emerging Markets Group, Ltd.

[3] Led by RTI

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