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PM introduces newly appointed healthcare minister and expresses hope for more vigorous reform effort


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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today called at the Ministry of Healthcare to introduce newly appointed Minister Anahit Avanesyan to the ministry staff.

The Prime Minister thanked Arsen Torosyan for his work as Minister of Healthcare. “We have to state that during Mr. Torosyan’s tenure his ministry was one of the most effective government agencies, but was criticized much in these conditions, which is somewhat logical. Since 2018, large-scale reforms have been carried out in the field. It is important to state that the reforms were human-oriented, that is, the goal was to expand the quality and scope of medical services provided to citizens, and we have achieved quite serious changes here,” Nikol Pashinyan said. The Premier noted that 2020 was a year of immense challenges, especially for the health sector due to the war and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I wish to remind you that there was a time when in the context of anti-coronavirus response parallels used to be drawn with other countries. Our opponents insisted that we did know how to fight the coronavirus, but we were sure that we were on a balanced path. Now that what we said has come true, we are no longer being pointed at other countries, and these countries are no longer being pointed at us. Of course, the coronavirus is unpredictable, and, in fact, there are all kinds of predictions, including that we are in for a 3rd, 4th, 5th wave of COVID-19, or the vaccine may work in time in the sense that it will be effective,” the Head of Government said.

According to the Prime Minister, the Government has lived up to the task, and today we have a manageable situation under international standards. Nikol Pashinyan expressed hope that the Government will be able to keep the situation under control. “Of course, the next, much more difficult test was the war, and continues to be so. Unfortunately, now we have a problem with the identification of bodies. We also had certain difficulties in that field, but now we can note with satisfaction that the efforts are going on in quite an acceptable mode,” the Premier said.

Touching upon Anahit Avanesyan’s appointment, the Prime Minister recalled that during that period she held the position of First Deputy Minister of Healthcare, i.e. she was a member of the team. “Not only her, but also other deputy ministers appointed at different times actually acted as a single team. The change that is taking place means that we continue to trust this team, and in this case it will be led by Ms. Avanesyan. I would like to wish you, Ms. Avanesyan, every success in your mission. We hope that the Ministry of Healthcare will continue to work actively and will not be afraid of criticism, because work often raises criticism. Of course, we should be more attentive to criticism trying to derive useful and rational information and advice from it,” the Prime Minister said.

Arsen Torosyan thanked the Premier for being entrusted with the post of healthcare minister and the management of the field as a whole in May 2018. “As you noted, we tried to operate framework changes in many directions in terms of both content and scope. In that sense, I wish to thank you and the government as a whole for accepting most of our proposals. Human-centered approaches were implemented, which originated either in this room or in the ministry staff, and our enjoyed high-quality medical services in a wider framework. I am talking about thousands of Armenian citizens, from children to the elderly, and I am confident that the apparatus, this team, headed by the new minister, will continue to follow the same path, or perhaps will do better,” Arsen Torosyan said.

Coming to the challenges faced in 2020, the outgoing minister thanked the Ministry staff, noting that he often spent months sleeping on the job. “That is why, although we were criticized a lot at first, but nevertheless we still have a manageable situation. And if you remember, the term we used, living in parallel with the coronavirus, has actually become a reality. Yes, we have economic constraints: we have mitigated a lot at the end. There are already agreements on the vaccine, different batches will be imported to Armenia in the near future, from small to several hundred thousand,” Arsen Torosyan said

Newly appointed Minister Anahit Avanesyan thanked the Prime Minister for entrusting her with this responsible position. The Minister also thanked Arsen Torosyan for including her in the department’s team in 2018 and for joint work. “The last 2.5 years have been years of drastic reforms and serious challenges, which made us stronger, rallied both our team and the entire healthcare system. We witnessed that the entire healthcare system was fighting for our citizens’ health during the war and throughout the COVID-19 response campaign. Mr. Prime Minister, we assure you that we will work at the same pace in a bid to develop the system in order to provide our citizens with better and more affordable medical services,” the Minister said.

Summing up, the Prime Minister added: “You are right of course, but on the other hand, I do not want the public to get the impression that we consider the healthcare system’s work to be perfect: there are many problems that have not been solved and they need to be solved. The quality of our healthcare system in many places is still far from what we imagined and dreamt of, and of course we must work in this direction. But in general, it must be stated that, especially in the crisis year of 2020, the healthcare system as a whole has solved the proposed tasks. We had a painful problem with identifying bodies using DNA analysis, but now, as the minister noted, the second device was imported and put into operation on time. In this sense, we also have a completely new level of controllability. Ms. Avanesyan, I wish you and those present every success in your activities. I hope that the pace of reforms will at least be maintained and even increased.”

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