Celebrating The Expansion of Regional Eye Care in Armenia

Making quality eye care accessible to every resident in Armenia is the AECP’s mission. By offering access to eye care in more regions of Armenia, we continue to expand our reach and provide care for Armenia’s most vulnerable population who often live in these regions. With this effort, thousand of additional patients across Armenia will have access to vital, sight-saving eye care services at their doorsteps.

Building on the momentous success of our Regional Eye Centers initiative launched in 2015 – in which we developed five full-service eye centers in Tavush, Spitak, Kapan, Shirak and Vayots Dzor – the AECP continues to pave the way forward for new diagnostic clinics to be established in the remaining regions of Armenia. The establishment of these Diagnostic Eye Clinics allows our organization to conduct comprehensive eye exams and offer treatment solutions, train local ophthalmologists, and ensure the transfer of international best practices and knowledge throughout Armenia. It also contributes directly to the development of primary healthcare services in the regions of Armenia.

With the generous support of our donors, the AECP has secured funding for three Diagnostic Eye Clinics – located in the towns of Talin, Armavir and Martuni – just in the past year! We are thrilled to bring you an update on the progress of these facilities. We also have sponsorship opportunities for two additional Diagnostic Eye Clinics to be established in the provinces of Ararat and Kotayk.

Talin Regional Diagnostic Eye Clinic

On April 25, 2023 the Talin Regional Diagnostic Eye Clinic officially opened its doors to welcome the first patients! The clinic was established with the generous support of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is equipped with cutting-edge medical equipment and tools. Thanks to the generous donation, the residents of the region will be able to receive detailed eye examinations and ambulatory treatment free of charge. Our partnership with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dates to 2018, when two pieces of laser equipment were donated to AECP to provide laser surgeries to thousands of patients in Armenia.

Meet the Donor: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been actively involved in humanitarian relief and development activities throughout the world for many years. These include emergency relief assistance in times of disaster and humanitarian programs that strengthen the self-reliance of individuals, families, and communities. Humanitarian projects are primarily funded by donations from Church members. One of the main areas supported by The Church is funding for programs focused on improving the quality of eye care treatment. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides training, equipment, and supplies to assist local eye care professionals and programs to help avoid blindness and visual impairment. Since 2003, over 500,000 people have benefited from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vision projects around the world.

Armavir Regional Diagnostic Eye Clinic

The Don H. and Vardi Vanitzian Diagnostic Eye Clinic was established in the city of Armavir, the capital of the Armavir province, in September 2022 thanks to a very generous donation from the Vanitzian family. The clinic is fully furnished with advanced eye care equipment that is unique to the entire region of Armavir, allowing physicians to offer comprehensive quality eye care to the population of 265,770 residents in this densely populated region. Over 29% of the province’s population are senior citizens and more vulnerable to eye diseases and disorders. In fact, the Armavir region notoriously outstands other regions of the country for its high number of people with diabetes. Because of this, special diabetes-related services were envisioned in the development of this clinic, including the establishment of a Diabetes school, pilot programs that focus on providing regular checkups and prevention of complications among diabetics, provision of HbA1c blood analyzers and strips and other initiatives that will help detect and treat eye diseases early and prevent complications locally without the need to travel to for care. As always, AECP works hand-in-hand with local ophthalmologists by training them in the use of the state-of-the-art pieces of equipment and the most up-to-date eye care techniques to provide comprehensive eye exams, treatments and referrals.

The establishment of the Don H. and Vardi Vanitzian Diagnostic Eye Clinic in Armavir offers a sustainable, long-term solution that solves the issue of accessibility and affordability of eye care for the entire population of the province and surrounding areas and contributes to the ongoing process of decentralization of quality eye care by building the capacity of regional doctors. The impact directly contributes to the elimination of preventable blindness in Armenia and making a significant improvement in the lives of people with diabetes.

Meet the Donor: The Vanitzian Family

Don H. and Vardi Vanitzian always cared deeply about eye health for themselves and their family. They had regular vision exams and ensured their three daughters did as well — a habit their daughters continued as adults. The family learned firsthand the importance of eye health when Vardi’s father, Sarkis Mnatzaganian, suffered from glaucoma, and later in life Don was diagnosed with diabetes-induced glaucoma, resulting in blindness. The Vanitzian family hopes its donation can help others receive the vision care needed to avoid the conditions and diseases affecting their ability to see. “We are honored to be able to partner with AECP to assist the residents of Armavir,” the family said.

Martuni Regional Diagnostic Eye Clinic

The Jirair S. and Elizabeth Hovnanian Diagnostic Eye Clinic, located in the Martuni Regional Medical Center of the Gegharkunik province, is in its final stages of development thanks to the very generous donation from the Jirair S. and Elizabeth Hovnanian Family Foundation. The decision to establish and equip a Diagnostic Eye Clinic within the Regional Medical Center in Martuni was made because the region has been significantly impacted by border incidents following the war provoked by Azerbaijan in September 2020, resulting in many wounded and displaced people requiring eye care services.

The Gegharkunik province now has a longer border with Azerbaijan and its population is under a constant threat of attacks. Since Martuni connects the remote areas of the Gegharkunik province with its capital (Gavar), the establishment of an eye exam clinic in Martuni is vital to acquire a more central role in serving people and providing support in case of resumed military hostility. The AECP is collaborating with Armenia’s Ministry of Health, the World Bank Program Implementation Unit and local healthcare providers to ensure that residents have access to modern ophthalmic equipment and skilled specialists. As well, AECP continues to train local ophthalmologists in the use of new technologies, ensuring the transfer of international best practices and knowledge. With the establishment of the Jirair S. and Elizabeth Hovnanian Diagnostic Eye Clinic in Martuni, the AECP will be able meet the growing healthcare needs of the province’s population of about 230,000 people.

Meet the Donor: Jirair S. & Elizabeth Hovnanian Family Foundation

The Jirair S. & Elizabeth Hovnanian Family Foundation was created with a focus on providing funding to assist Armenian communities worldwide by gifts, grants, contributions and program-related investments. Established in 2000, the Foundation is run by brothers Stephen and Peter Hovnanian and pays homage to their father and mother, Jirair and Elizabeth, who passed on in 2007 and 2010, respectively. In 1964, Jirair founded the building firm J. S. Hovnanian & Sons in New Jersey. Now his two sons operate the business, dedicating their lives to building excellence through their company and the foundation they founded to honor their parents.

Sponsorship Opportunity

The AECP’s ambitious undertaking to organize a more comprehensive eye care delivery system that eventually covers all regions of Armenia has been gaining momentum and bringing impressive results! In order to continue making a meaningful difference for the population of the remaining regions of the country, we are currently in need of sponsorships to develop two supplemental eye care facilities in the regions of Ararat and Kotayk. Sponsorships come with naming opportunities, with either exam clinic or polyclinics being named after a person or entity of your choice!

Would you join us in our exciting initiative to develop Diagnostic Eye Clinics in the regions of Armenia? This is your opportunity to help children, women, men and the elderly living in the regions of Armenia have access to fully equipped diagnostic clinics along with the surgical suites that are available through our Regional Eye Centers and have proven successful in providing comprehensive eye care.

To make a meaningful impact, you can:

  • Provide basic polyclinic support for $30, 000.
  • Sponsor a Diagnostic Eye Clinic for $100,000.
  • Sponsor a Diagnostic Eye Clinic with diabetes tier for $150,000.

If you are interested in supporting one of these initiatives, please reach out by email at [email protected] or call us at 949.933.4069.

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