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Gayane Armaghanova. “Ensuring safe working conditions for medical workers is a priority”

“Medical workers around the world are at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Armenia. Their work is truly commendable, as each of them, ignoring the danger that the infection could be transmitted to them and themselves, continues to work to provide patients and the isolated with great psychological support in addition to medical care, ”said Gayane Armaghanova, President of the Branch Republican Union of Trade Unions of Workers in an interview with WomenNet.am.


According to her, ensuring the safe working conditions of medical workers is a priority today, the branch union has in mind the availability of personal protective equipment for their health, as well as other shortcomings in the health sector, which can cost lives in the context of the pandemic.


According to Gayane Armaghanova, unfortunately, in the first period of the spread of the pandemic, the medical staff was not provided with protective equipment, the ambulance doctors, who always worked in emergency mode in those days, went to the calls without masks. Later, of course, the medical staff was provided with the necessary equipment to avoid infection.


I am in constant contact with the medical staff of the hospitals and polyclinics of the Republican Union of Healthcare Workers. Despite they are provided with medical supplies, clothes, robes, masks, gloves and disinfectant solutions, they are not in the required quantities. Meanwhile, the wardrobes of medical workers should be changed every day, the masks should be changed several times a day. In the past, medical workers used to buy masks themselves, but today there is no clear information on how much masks and other items are provided by each institution, says G. Armaghanova.


Almost every day there are photos and videos in the press and on the Internet showing the work of Armenian doctors. These days, they do not lack words of gratitude. And how is that selfless work compensated? According to our interlocutor, the specific numbers are beyond her competence, but it is known that the employees of the medical institutions fighting against coronavirus under the Ministry of Health have been provided with additional payments. The ambulance staff was given a full monthly bonus of about 130 million AMD from the three-month bonuses of the staff of the Yerevan Municipality. More than 1,800 community health workers fighting the infection have been awarded.


According to her, in several hospitals re-profiled due to coronavirus, medical workers are paid extra from other sources, as they are considered harmful and dangerous workers. They are also provided with personal protective clothing.


No matter how cautious the medical staff is, 375 medical workers have been infected with the coronavirus while performing their professional duties. The government’s decision defines how employees should be paid for quarantine, as well as for days of self-isolation. For those 14 days, they must be provided with a disability card, which must be paid in accordance with Government Decision 1024 N of 2011, which stipulates that they will be paid 80% of their salary.


Recently, 9 medical workers at Maralik Medical Center were diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, who, after coming out of self-isolation, demanded a full pay for those days.


Although Maralik Medical Clinic does not currently have a trade union organization and that the medical staff is not a member of the union, however, their problems are also of concern to us. We receive complaints about the payment of salaries from medical institutions in both Yerevan and the regions. In this regard, we have sent a letter to the RA Ministry of Internal Affairs, noting that those medical workers who perform their professional duties and become ill or infected during that time should not be deprived of their salaries. We have proposed that the salary on the disability sheet be calculated not at 80, but at 100 percent, – says G. Armaghanova.


The workers of the polyclinics also appeared in the risk zone today, as they have also started the process of detecting and controlling patients with coronavirus. Immediately at the entrance, the body temperature is measured on the spot, the visitors observe the rules of sanitary hygiene / mask, gloves, social distance / maintenance, but vigilance should not be weakened for a minute.


At the end of the conversation, Gayane Armaghanova also called on the population to be vigilant.


– I am optimistic, but the virus will continue to remain, it is true, it will gradually weaken, but mass infection is not ruled out. However, neither in the capital nor in the regions do the population follow the rules to prevent the spread of the infection, while the risk of infection due to negligence is very high. Now when I go out on the street, I notice that there are a lot of people outside, despite the quarantine. There is no social distance in the shops. Life is booming, and there is an impression that nothing has happened. Many people may not believe that the virus is real… But I want to say that it is very dangerous. We all need to be more careful and cautious.

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