Employees on strike as anti-tuberculosis dispensary in Yerevan on verge of closure

October 15, 2019  12:19

Reducing the funding of the hospital of the Anti-Tuberculosis Dispensary in Yerevan will sooner or later lead to the closure of the entire dispensary, since the funding received by the community-based department is not enough for the center to operate, the director Mkrtich Mkrtchyan told NEWS.am.

Employees of the dispensary went on strike, protesting against the decision of the Armenian Health Ministry to stop state financing of the inpatient department of the Tuberculosis Dispensary.

According to the director, the dispensary’s financing currently amounts to AMD 143 million, of which 97 million are received by the hospital, and the remaining 46 million are received by the out-patient department. Having lost most of the funding, the dispensary will not be able to continue working, the director is sure. According to him, about 70% of today's financing goes to the salaries of employees, which are lower than the salaries of doctors in clinics. Another 15 million is spent on utility bills and 46 million will not be enough for the center to exist, even if the staff of the dispensary with the closure of the hospital is reduced by 24 people.

As the director noted, although the number of people with tuberculosis in the country is declining, the dispensary plays an important role in the city. Firstly, it is here that the final diagnosis is most often made: in 2018, 213 new cases of tuberculosis were registered in Yerevan (and another 64 repeated), 68% of which were diagnosed in this dispensary, and most of the others - in large hospitals or in the Abovyan dispensary . The possibilities of clinics in this case are limited - most do not have the equipment or the conditions for a full diagnosis of tuberculosis.

According to the director, over 2,500 consultations, 2,500 sputum tests, 1,100 x-ray studies, 2,500 x-ray examinations, as well as a number of other studies that are simply not available in Yerevan clinics are held annually in the dispensary.

According to the director, nine patients are receiving treatment in the hospital of the Yerevan dispensary. During the year, there are about 177-180 patients. This, of course, is not so much, but if the hospital closes, patients in need of diagnosis or hospital treatment will have to travel to the city of Abovyan. Since most patients with tuberculosis or with suspicion of tuberculosis from disadvantaged segments of the population, it will not be easy for them to travel to a neighboring city, especially since it may take 3-4 trips to get a final diagnosis.

In addition, do not forget about the problem of the spread of infection: if a person with tuberculosis travels several times by public transport to a neighboring city, there is a risk that, before receiving a final diagnosis, he can infect a lot of other people.

According to the director, the striking staff of the dispensary does not at all require preserving the financing of the hospital and the hospital itself.

The city hall, as he noted, has made serious investments in this center in recent years, organized a local heating system, changed the roof and all windows, and promised to re-equip the clinical and bacteriological laboratories next year. The dispensary, according to the director, may in the near future become a promising and important center for the treatment of not only tuberculosis, but also all pulmonary pathologies.

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