President Armen Sarkissian held a working meeting with the experts of the healthcare area: I am waiting for the doctor’s direct words who will give a “diagnosis” and say what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s to be done
President Armen Sarkissian held today a working meeting to discuss the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, measures aimed at its prevention and containment as well as the existing opportunities and in that context to discuss problems of the healthcare system. Present at the meeting were the Minister of Health Arsen Torossian, Scientific Director of Arabkir Medical Center, former Minister of Health Ara Babloyan, Rector of the Yerevan State Medical University, former Minister of Health Armen Muradian, Director of Nork Center of Infectious Diseases Mher Davidian, Director of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health Artavazd Vanian, Director of the Thoracic surgery department at the Surb Grigor Lusavorich MC Hovhannes Sargavagian, Director of the Astghik MC Asatour Asatrian, and Head of the Cardiothoracic surgery of the same Center Mihir Sousani.
President Sarkissian noted that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss with the responsible representatives of the healthcare system and eminent experts three main issues: the current situation with the pandemic and forthcoming steps, issues related to the management of the healthcare system and how the President and the institute of presidency can assist in the resolution of these issues and defeating the pandemic. Speaking of the situation with the pandemic, President Sarkissian noted in particular, “The situation is grave. It manifests itself in the number of the infected people and the number of unidentified carriers, who, according to a professional opinion, are much greater in number than we are able to detect. And, of course, the number of seriously ill, and the general overload of the healthcare system, and the number of deaths which for us, for our nation is very painful.
Each of you is a very competent specialist in your own area, thus your opinion is very important for me and for our society and in general, important for making right decisions and moving forward.”
According to President Sarkissian, at the moment the country is going through tough times, and the President has to overstep his constitutional authorities and act as a person who can help and assist, particularly through his international connections and abilities. Armen Sarkissian said that for him, also as for the President, it is important in the person of the participants of the discussion to hear an expert opinion.
“If I’ve tried to help more vigorously, to bring assistance and that assistance can be in a form of personnel, medications or devises, or even just ideas. I need to know precisely to assist in what and how,” the President said. “If I am going to call the head of a country, or medical center, I have to tell precisely what our country wants. Set a task before me, tell me what you need. I can assure you that thousands of our compatriots, members of the Benevolent’s (AGBU) council from different countries of the world, are ready to help us but we have to set a task – what we need. It can be done through a video call, or, if necessary, through a visit.
The same goes for our partners abroad. I will give you an example. Days ago, I spoke with the Emir of Qatar, it was his birthday, he’s an old friend of mine. He is ready to send assistance but I need to tell clearly what I want. The leader of the UAE during our conversation expressed readiness to help. I asked the Minister to prepare a list, passed it on, and we received a huge aircraft with gifts. I spoke to the President of Serbia, we are good friends. He said, “We reached a peak, now going down, there is a great surplus, I am ready to help. I asked the Minister to prepare a list, he gave it to me. This morning, I’ve received a message on how much he can send out, now we are thinking how to bring it in. Same with Montenegro; it’s a small country, no coronavirus, received funds from the EU, have necessary goods, and I believe, they can share. Assistance can be received from China, US, but we need to be very specific. And on this, I need your help.
I would propose our conversation to be professional, medical. If there are painful things to tell, go ahead, I will be the only diplomat in this room. I don’t expect anyone of you to be diplomatic. I am waiting for doctor’s direct word, who will tell the “diagnosis” and will tell what’s good and what’s bad and what’s to be done, staying within norms of etiquette and tolerant toward each other. Today’s urgency is in the situation we are having; let’s assess that situation and decide how we should move forward.”
Stressing the importance of a strategy, the President noted, “First to speak will be the Minister of Health because he will present the strategy of the Ministry and government, which will translate into a specific plan which in turn will create working programs for separate units – cities or hospitals.”
The third critical issue according to the President Sarkissian is management, “Management should be appropriate and timely, in line with the strategic plan, accompanied with strict discipline and engaging all available resources.”
The President of Armenia viewed it as appropriate that on June 21 – Medical Worker’s Day, doctors and other medical staff receive high state awards. President Sarkissian suggested that the Minister of Health raises this issue with the government. “State ought to appreciate its sons and daughters who in these difficult days put on line their own and their families’ lives,” the President of Armenia said and added that the Presidential Administration in its turn will make certain steps in that direction.