YEREVAN, March 3, /ARKA/. Armenian health minister Derenik Dumanyan ordered last Friday to postpone until July 1 a directive that required state-run polyclinics in Yerevan to charge patients for some of medical services. The decision was made following a meeting with Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan, the ministry said.
The ministry said earlier last month that starting from March 1 policlinics in Yerevan would start charging up to 1,000 drams ($2.4) for some services, including blood and other tests, which have been free.
The planned measure caused strong public discontent, especially of pregnant women, who according to another directive were to pay 5,000 drams for every day of staying at hospitals after being hospitalized with various complications. This made them to demonstrate outside the ministry of health building in Yerevan for some days.
The ministry said until July it will conduct extensive outreach work to “clarify mechanisms for the introduction of paid services.” It also promised ‘thorough analysis of some controversial parts of the directive concerning socially vulnerable groups of society.”
Calling the planned ‘fees’ “symbolic” the ministry said they are designed to curb informal payments in the system. It also said that part of the money would be used to buy new equipment.
Policlinic charges were abolished in January 2006 causing a dramatic rise in the number of people visiting primary healthcare centers across the country. -0-