Representatives from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, & Romania attended the two-day conference which was held in Yerevan from 27-28 February. In total nearly 200 people were in attendance.
Meetings with government
In addition to the workshop, Dr Connor, along with representatives from Open Society Foundation – Armenia met with the Deputy Minister of Health to discuss the Armenian government’s commitment to palliative care development.
The Ministry of Health will be issuing a decree, consistent with new legislation that will eliminate restrictions on the use of opioids including:
- allowing all physicians to prescribe opioids (not just oncologists)
- changing length of prescription from 3 to 7 days; and
- registration of oral morphine.
Dr Connor said: “The important advance was gaining the cooperation of the new Minister of Health to approve all the major policy documents that have been held up at the Ministry, including the Palliative Care Concept Note, the National Palliative Care Standards, the Clinical Guideline on Pain Management, and the new legislative language.”
Palliative care and the Armenian Orthodox Church
Dr Connor and Anahit Papikyan, OSF Armenia, also met with the Armenian Orthodox Church Bishop Galstanyan, head of the recently organized program of social doctrine for the Armenian Church worldwide, to discuss involvement of the Church in palliative care delivery in Armenia.
The Armenian Church clergy are often the ones that people turn to for guidance on any problems. Almost everyone in Armenia belongs to the Church, so they are very much a part of the social fabric in the country.
Children’s palliative care
Regarding development in children’s palliative care, Dr Connor reports that Dr Ara Babloyan, Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Health, who attended the 2nd Paediatric Palliative Care Congress held in Rome last November has become a strong champion for palliative care in Armenia and is especially driven to make sure children’s palliative care is begun.
On Thursday 27 February there was a live press conference to discuss the introduction of Children’s Palliative Care in Armenia, which was streamed online. The panel included, Dr Connor, Dr Ara Babloyan, chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Health, and David Amyryan, Deputy Director OSF Armenia, as well as representatives from Russia, Ukraine, & Romania. Dr Babloyan also chaired most of the 2 day workshop.
Later in the visit, Dr Connor met with leaders of Arabkir Children’s Hospital to discuss carrying out a children’s palliative care needs assessment for Armenia.
Read the full report on developments in Armenia in the International edition of ehospice.