Dr Avetis Babakhanyan, Anesthesiologist, Hospital of Police of Armenia and Masis Medical Center, Masis, and a volunteer at the ‘Muratsan’ hospital-based Palliative Care mobile team, Yerevan, Armenia
Palliative care in Armenia is in the very early stages of development. The situation is complicated by the recent global financial crisis. There is an ongoing ‘Home Palliative Care’ pilot project supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). A total of 20 staff (physicians, nurses, psychologist and social workers) are involved in this project which started in 2011. Four mobile teams (five members in each team) provide a consultative palliative care service to those in need. The number of patients served (120 patients per year) represents only about one per cent of those seeking palliative care. As yet, there are no hospices or specialist palliative care units/departments in Armenia.
The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) generously provided me with a scholarship to attend the 7th World Research Congress of the EAPC held in Trondheim on 7-9 June 2012. It was a great scientific event – perhaps, the most impressive one I have ever attended. I’d like to mention the great job done by both the scientific and local organising committees who made sure that we received every attention and comfort throughout the congress.
I think that many participants (especially those from developing countries) had no prior acquaintance with other delegates. I was lucky to know Dr Daniela Mosoiu from Romania who kindly supported me and introduced me to many colleagues from all over the world enabling me to create important links. I’d like to use these links in the future to develop some collaborative educational and research activities.
I noticed that there were very few practitioners from Eastern Europe (developing countries) involved in EAPC research activities. Perhaps a short course on research methodology that addresses the needs of potential researchers from developing countries would encourage more participation, and enable us to develop collaborative research initiatives?
After attending the sessions, and following many conversations with experienced practitioners, I’ve come to the conclusion that wherever you are in the world it is never an easy process to establish a palliative care service.
Again, I want to express my overall satisfaction with the congress. And I am grateful to the IAHPC for providing me with this unique opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge in palliative medicine.