WATERTOWN–MA–The Central Executive Board of the Armenian Relief Society–Inc. (ARS) recently announced that the HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Project at the ARS Mother and Child Clinic in Akhurian–Armenia has been granted an extension. The project–funded by a grant from the World AIDS Foundation–is a collaborative effort between the ARS and the University of Massachusetts (UM) at Worcester.
The purpose of the project is to develop a decentralized model of HIV/AIDS education and prevention that can be replicated throughout Armenia and possibly in other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. In addition–it begins to establish a climate that will support HIV health care delivery in the near future. Project team members include UM Medical School assistant professor Dr. Carol Bova–ARS Mother and Child Clinic director Dr. Sevak Avagyan–UM Memorial Healthcare HIV Clinic Nurse Manager/Nurse Practitioner Carol Jaffarian who is also a member of the ARS; and ARS Mother and Child Clinic executive director Dr. Mkhitar Mkhitaryan.
Built in the region of Armenia devastated by the 1988 earthquake–the ARS Mother and Child Clinic–the first licensed and registered privately owned medical facility in Armenia–became operational in May 1997. Providing the 22,000 strong population of Akhurian and six adjacent villages with free medical care and treatment–more than 40,000 women and children have received care at the clinic since its inception–and more than 450 children have been born to mothers followed in this clinic.
In September 2003–the ARS celebrated the groundbreaking of a Birthing Center at the clinic–which will officially become operational in April–the date on which Armenia’s throughout the world will commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Genocide. Thus–the new ARS Birthing Center will be affirming the joy and final triumph of new life over violence–death–and despair.