ARMENIA (KSEE) – A hospital tour that’s hard to forget. The lobby and staircase, pediatric ward, the surgical room complete with running water, that never turns off.
This is Vartenis General Hospital, which was built in 1973 when Armenia was under Soviet rule. Considered “state of the art” at that time, now in a state of decay.
Fresno’s medical mission team of doctors was asked to spend ten minutes to tour the 35-bed facility: time to asses whether this hospital could be a mission project of the future.
“We’ve got to take a look at the situation, make an assessment and see what’s possible and what is not,” says Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian.
Fresno donors funded the renovation of a run-down surgical suite at a hospital in the city of Ashtarak. We witnessed the ribbon cutting and end result of the one year project, but the transformation here would likely require a lot more time and a lot more money.
“As you can see from the condition, it’s very similar, very very similar to Ashtarak hospital. As a matter of fact, the light. The light is exactly the same. It looks like a spacecraft,” Apkarian says.
“An operating suite should be the cleanest – the best room in the hospital. It’s not sanitary. I’m sure they’re doing the best they can with what they have, ” says mission surgeon Dr. Bobby Eghbalieh.
It’s hard to say how much it would cost to bring this hospital that serves 45,000 people up-to-date, but mission team members determine it’s a project that’s more than cosmetic. There is also a need for the infrastructure to back it up. No conclusion or decision when the 10 minutes are up. Another project to add to a growing list in a country that’s in need of so much.