For the third year in a row, a team of volunteer medical professionals from Adventist Health Glendale delivered care and facility improvements to the hospital's sister medical site in Armenia, serving more than 2,000 underprivileged people during their time there.
With continued logistical support from the Armenia Fund, a nonprofit humanitarian aid group, Adventist brought more than 50 volunteer missionaries to provide various medical services at Noyemberyan Hospital in Armenia for a week last month.
Maria Mehranian, the Armenia Fund's president, said the hospital makes great improvements with every visit, increasing its medical capabilities with personnel and infrastructure.
"Our ultimate goal is to create more sustainable, ongoing care and specialized services in that hospital, so things don't die down because we're not there," Mehranian said. "We want to build it out so that there are doctors that are prepared and equipped with the latest technology in medicine that can provide services to people that really need them."
According to Mehranian, the primary care clinic saw 2,015 patients this year with the help of medical specialists in cardiology, pulmonology, pediatrics, neurology, pathology and cytology.
Arby Nehapetian, regional chief medical officer for Adventist Health in Southern California, said the exponential improvement in services at Noyemberyan Hospital have lifted the facility's profile in the region, and he saw people now traveling from all over Armenia to get care at Noyemberyan.
Apart from providing important services, Nehapetian recalled how the medical staff helped in a unique way. One of his patients, having just undergone surgery, asked the doctors if he could have the disposed medical gloves used during the procedure.
"His daughter was going to have a wedding, and he wanted to keep his hands clean from the walnut-oil stains on his hands he got from working in the fields," Nehapetian said. "We were floored, and one of the nurses started crying. We gave him a whole box of gloves to take home."
Vahan Cepkinian ran an orthopedic clinic for his second time at Noyemberyan and saw about 270 patients. He helped perform a few procedures on individuals with masses on their backs and extremities that prevented them from enjoying everyday activities.
He recalled helping remove an overgrown mass in the hand of one patient who couldn't hold a hammer for work and felt self-conscious about shaking hands.
"It's these types of stories that provide desire to return," Cepkinian said. "It was great to be a part of a team of such wonderful medical professionals, and I definitely would do it again."