Challenges for urologists in Armenia -and how the EAU can help the Armenian Association
In a conversation with EAU Secretary General Prof. Chapple, President of the Armenian Urological Association Dr. Ruben Hovhannisyan proposed a two-step mission for his Association: involve and engage urologists in Armenia with their national Association, and then in turn integrate more closely with the European Association of Urology. The European Association of Urology is in turn uniquely equipped to help Armenia’s urologists through its educational programmes, courses and opportunities for scholarships abroad.
Dr. Ruben Hovhannisyan began his term as President earlier this year and has been exploring options to improve urological care in Armenia. His conversation with Prof. Chapple took place as the Armenian Association was one week away from its Annual Congress and ESU course in Yerevan (23-24 September 2022).
Goals of the Armenian Association of Urology
Dr. Hovhannisyan first painted a picture of urology in Armenia, and his experiences in his first months as President of its Association:
“Our Association was founded in 1999, not long after the 1996 ESU Course in Tbilisi, which we both attended! The EAU was critical in many urologists in the region forming their own national societies around that time. We currently have around 120 urologists in Armenia, including residents who have a three-year residency. There is no widespread health insurance, and urologists are typically paid per operation.”
“Our Association’s challenges are two-fold. I believe cooperation between our Association and the Armenian Ministry of Health could be greatly improved. Secondly, I feel our Association needs to find a way to attract an involve more of Armenia’s urologists in our association.”
Cooperation with EAU
During the discussion, Prof. Chapple said: “I think the Armenian Association is uniquely placed to improve urological care in Armenia: on the one hand representing and supporting urologists, on the other hand working with the government to advise on medical policy. The close ties between the EAU and the Armenian Society also means that we can effectively reach Armenian urologists and help them best treat their patients.”
Prof. Chapple also pointed out that the EAU’s and the Armenian Association’s missions are fully compatible: raising the level of urological care in Europe and its neighboring regions. The EAU has several ‘tools’ in its toolbox, from educational and scholarship programmes to the latest medical guidelines.
Dr. Hovhannisyan referred to the ESU courses which are held in conjunction with the Armenian Society’s Annual Congress on a regular basis as an important step, and suggested further expanding that cooperation. Other options are helping Armenian Urologists attend EAU events, participate in scholarship programmes and the like despite the challenging requirements of being published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Armenian Association is currently trying to arrange travel grants from local industry. Language barriers also play a part- a Russian translation of the EAU (Pocket) Guidelines might be useful not just for Armenia but for the wider region where it is historically spoken as a second language and use of English is more limited. Prof. Chapple promised that these options will be explored with the European School of Urology and Guidelines Office, respectively.
- This article will appear in expanded form in the upcoming edition of European Urology Today together with a report from the ESU Course “Complete update on the management of urinary stone disease” and the Annual Congress in Yerevan, Armenia.