By Ms Rachel V Goodspeed (USACE)September 9, 2011
TALIN, Armenia -- Between the freshly painted walls in the spotless hallways on the second floor of the newly-renovated polyclinic here, members of the local medical community gathered with representatives of the U.S. and Armenian governments Sept. 2 to celebrate its opening.
The $220,000 renovation project, funded by the U.S. European Command and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation, provided a complete overhaul to the clinic's second floor.
"I'm very excited about [the completion] of this facility," said Aragatsotni province governor Sargis Sahakyan. "On behalf of the medical community and on behalf of the Marz government staff, I want to thank you for providing this wonderful facility for our community because all the doctors now will be able to provide better quality service to our patients."
The clinic provides primary and secondary health care to more than 12,000 adults and 5,000 children, primarily from its rural location in Talin. This is the third renovation to the clinic since 2005.
The improved conditions will encourage more patients to seek professional medical care and pursue preventative health measures, said Col. D. Peter Helmlinger, Europe District commander.
During this most recent renovation, hallways and rooms were repaired and refurbished, and much of the interior elements such as sinks, doors, tiling and windows were replaced. A portion of the sewage system and electrical wiring was also repaired.
Previously, the clinic received renovations to the Obstetrical Department in 2005, a renovation to the Children's Department and establishment of a School of Motherhood in 2007, and a donation of tables, chairs and medical equipment in 2010, according to the ODC.
"I want to thank every single person that has had any input into the building of this facility," said Tamara Gevorgyan, the Talin Polyclinic Hospital director.
Additionally, the project provided an opportunity for local contractors to learn U.S. contracting processes, construction procedures and quality assurance measures, Helmlinger said.
"Not only does this project provide a renovated polyclinic and much-needed jobs in the local economy, it also provides a unique opportunity for U.S. military forces to become acquainted with local construction procedures," he said. "Hopefully this transfer of knowledge will help with future projects [in Armenia] with CESCO and other local contractors."
Eventually, both countries hope to see the complete renovations to the rest of the polyclinic, but even more, officials look forward to the continued partnership between the two countries, Sahakyan said.
"As the colonel said, the goal of this program is to provide interoperability between Armenia and the United States - I think that cooperation between our countries is strong," he said. "We've had a wonderful experience with this [project] … After this opening, we have another opening in Marz of our kindergarten that has been built by the same organizations."
Including the clinic, so far roughly $1.2 million has been invested in the country's health and educational facilities this year. According to the ODC, this investment by the Defense Department improves the lives of Armenians through access to better health care and education, which in turn leads to a stronger partnership.
"I hope we won't have too many patients coming, but the ones that will be coming will get high-quality service here," Sahakyan said. "The Armenian people are thankful and they appreciate the support from the U.S. government."