Los Angeles- Earlier this Fall, the armed conflict in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh) resulted in injuries and fatalities that overwhelmed the healthcare infrastructure in both Artsakh and neighboring Armenia. The conflict also resulted in an explosive increase in COVID-19 cases, further stretching an already inundated healthcare system.
In response, an interdisciplinary team from UCLA formed to help provide immediate medical disaster relief. The UCLA team, led by Dr. Eric Esrailian and generously supported by The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA, includes volunteers from across UCLA, including academic faculty, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, psychologists, administrators, staff, and students.
Today, as the situation in Armenia has changed since the November 2020 ceasefire, this collaboration is focusing on ways to provide long-term humanitarian aid and infrastructure support to help re-stabilize healthcare capacity in the region, including to enhance infectious disease prevention and develop rehabilitation, wound care, and mental healthcare infrastructure. GHP asked UCLA’s Dr. Shant Shekherdimian, a pediatric surgeon and the chief medical officer for this Armenia collaboration, how he and the team envision this effort expanding over time:
“Our current partnerships with the Ministry of Health and other institutions in Armenia have led to innovative solutions to address urgent humanitarian needs in health care while developing local capacity. In the future, we hope to build on these relationships and experiences to continue developing novel solutions to some of the more long-term challenges Armenia’s health care system faces.”
For information on how you can help, please email the team at UCLAAidtoArmenia@mednet.ucla.