BMC Journal
, , , ,

CHS Published in BMC Primary Care Journal

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — The Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) published an article in BMC Primary Care, an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal (two-year Impact Factor of 2.9) with a special focus on topics related to primary health care services research. The article is authored by Varduhi Hayrumyan, M.S. (MPH ‘16); Arpine Abrahamyan, M.D. (MPH ’19); Arusyak Harutyunyan, M.D. (MPH ‘09); Lorky Libaridian, M.D.; and Serine Sahakyan, RN (MPH ‘15).

Titled “Impact of COVID-19 on essential healthcare services at the primary healthcare level in Armenia: a qualitative study,” the article discusses findings from research conducted as part of the “Support to control COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks” project. This project aimed to enhance Armenia’s capacity to manage COVID-19 and other communicable disease outbreaks and potential public health emergencies, thereby bolstering the nation’s preparedness and response strategies. The project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of AUA and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.

The article aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the utilization and delivery of primary health care (PHC) essential services in Armenia. Findings revealed a decline in in-person visits to PHC facilities due to service delivery adjustments, lockdown measures, and the public’s fear of visiting healthcare facilities. While maternal and child health services continued without major disruptions, PHC providers limited non-essential visits, focusing on crucial antenatal care, newborn screenings, and routine childhood immunizations. However, children experienced some delays in vaccination. The pandemic led to reduced follow-up visits for patients with chronic conditions, exacerbating their health issues. Communication between patients and providers primarily occurred via phone calls during the pandemic.

The study highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential health care services at PHC facilities, providing insights for policymakers to implement targeted interventions and enhance PHC capacity for future pandemics. Particularly, it underscores the challenges faced by visitors with chronic conditions who require regular follow-up, emphasizing the need for better guidance and technical support to ensure continuous provision of essential PHC services for vulnerable populations. The study concluded that a unified national-level action plan for PHC facilities is essential to respond to potential outbreaks and sustain effective service delivery and health communication. Furthermore, equipping PHC facilities with digital platforms and training providers in their use is crucial. Effective health and risk communication strategies, along with the optimized use of digital platforms, are essential for delivering health care services and encouraging appropriate health-seeking behaviors among the public.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.