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"Keep your hands off the pregnant women's pockets!" - Healthcare Ministry responds to women's protest against introduction of paid medical services

  • by Karina Manukyan

  • Friday, February 28, 17:17

The healthcare system of Armenia faces a ridiculous situation. A couple of days ago the media outlets reported that from now on citizens will have to pay for inpatient treatment of pregnancy pathologies. In addition, some medical services at polyclinics will also be on a paid basis. The idea to introduce such a mechanism of payments was conditioned by the anti- corruption fight, strange though it may seem.    

Amid the hard socio-economic situation in the country, which has recently been aggravated by the compulsory accumulative pension system, the aforementioned decisions raise brows at least. On Feb 27 the press service of the Healthcare Ministry made a vague statement that no paid inpatient treatment of pregnancy pathologies will be introduced "due to the need to specify the payment mechanisms". It has turned out that the decision was suspended even before coming into force.     

This strange situation has made the civil initiative "Keep your hands off the pregnant women's pockets!" picket the building of the Armenian Healthcare Ministry on Feb 28. Deputy Minister Vahan Poghosyan and Head of the Ministry Administration Suren Krmoyan agreed to meet with the civil initiative representatives and mass media.  

During the meeting, Krmoyan said that the decision on pregnancy pathologies is not only suspended, but also declared invalid. As regards the paid diagnostics at polyclinics, it will be introduced on July 1, not March 1.    

"I can't understand why the decisions concerning the health of future mothers are taken without being discussed with the public. It is unacceptable in our country, which faces a demographic crisis", said Lara Aharonyan, co-president of "Women's resource center" NGO.

Poghosyan's remark that the relevant information is regularly posted on the official website of the Healthcare Ministry was also criticized. "It appears that women must monitor your website from morning till night", said Aharonyan. 

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