“Human capital should be preserved” - Free Healthcare to Vulnerable Syrian Armenians

Free medical support to vulnerable Syrian Armenians resettled in Armenia as a result of the Syrian War

  • December 29, 2022
  • Mediamax
  • 2 photo(s)

“Health Care Support to Vulnerable Syrian Armenians Residing in Armenia” program, launched in March 2017, has helped around 852 beneficiaries. Currently, among the beneficiaries of the free healthcare program are not only Syrian Armenians, but also Armenians relocated from Lebanon.

The program was initiated and financed by the Izmirlian Foundation, and co-funded by Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The program partner organizations are the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians' Issues NGO, and Aleppo Compatriotic Charity NGO.

The chairman of the Center for Coordination of Syrian-Armenians' Issues, George Barseghyan, talked with Mediamax, sharing details on the implementation and progress of the program.

“The program, initially implemented with the efforts and support of the Ministry of Diaspora, which was still operating at the time, targets Syrian Armenians with health needs who moved to Armenia because of the Syrian war and now reside in Armenia.

In the wake of the Syrian conflict, over 25,000 Syrian Armenians moved to Armenia during the last ten years, and about 7,000 of them remained here. Among those 7,000, there are financially well-off families, families that manage to earn their daily bread, and there are also vulnerable and extremely vulnerable families. To alleviate the burden of these extremely vulnerable families, the Ministry of Diaspora initiated various economic, student-oriented, and healthcare initiatives, which proved to be very effective for Syrian Armenians. One of such initiatives aimed at meeting the essential healthcare needs of the Syrian Armenians in dire need,” says George Barseghyan.

“During these years, with the support of the Izmirlian Foundation we were able to help many people. Naturally, healthcare was provided to those who were in dire need of receiving medical services. I want to emphasize that the Syrian Armenians that came to Armenia due to the war were included in the state assistance program straight away. All Syrian Armenians who required medical assistance received basic medical care. This program has helped those who were in dire need of help, but their treatment expenses were not covered or were partly covered under the state program,” says the chairman of the Center for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues.

One of the beneficiaries of the program is Sargis Katrji, who moved from Syria to Armenia in 2016.

“I moved to Armenia with my wife and children. I have benefited twice from the Programme “Health Care Support to Vulnerable Syrian-Armenians Residing in Armenia”. The first time I encountered a health issue was in 2019. With the financial support of the Izmirlian Foundation and thanks to the doctors of Izmirlian Medical Center - Gor Hovhannisyan and Razmik Davidyan - I successfully overcame both the pre-surgical process and surgical intervention. Praise be to the Lord, everything went very well,” says Sargis Katrji.

Three years later, in 2021, Sargis Katrji benefited from the program again, this time due to having a cardiovascular problem.

“I highly appreciate this program. It offers what is most needed for people restarting their lives from scratch,” says Katrji.

According to the chairman of the Center for Coordination of Syrian Armenians' Issues, the program is still ongoing now, but the outreach has certainly decreased.

“There are still extremely vulnerable Syrian Armenians who are truly in need. We do not hesitate to help them. It is in our national interests to ensure that each of these families settles in Armenia. The national gene pool and manpower should be preserved and retained within Armenia with all possible means and resources,” added George Barseghyan.