Knights of Vartan Medical Aid to Karabagh

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Cambridge-based Ararat lodge of the Knights of Vartan (K of V) recently announced the arrival of medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics in the Kashatagh region of Nagorno-Karabagh, under the Ararat Lodge Armenia Medical Aid project. The 40-foot container arrived in Yerevan in early August 2009, was offloaded, and then trucked to medical facilities in the Kashatagh region, including hospitals in Berdsor (formerly Lachin) and Kovsakan, and three clinics in Mooshatagh, Msheni, and Ishkhanadzor. These medical facilities are all located in the strategic, liberated Kashatagh region that is contiguous with the border of Armenia. Collaborating on this project with the Ararat Lodge team were Eilleen Lucey of the International Medical Equipment Collaborative, Inc. (IMEC), Mary Matosian of the Tufenkian Charitable Foundation, and Nouritza Abujamra of the United Armenian Fund (UAF), which provided ocean freight delivery of the container.

This is the sixth container shipped to Armenia/Karabagh by the K of V Ararat Lodge in partnership with the IMEC, having an estimated total value of $2.5 million. A non-profit volunteer-based humanitarian organization headquartered in North Andover, IMEC has shipped medical aid to over 800 needy medical institutions in 80 countries worldwide. IMEC collaborates with “shepherding” organizations that identify and fulfill the need in developing countries worldwide and perform due diligence follow-up at the destination. The K of V Ararat Lodge is one of 80 such organizations that work with IMEC. To date, K of V aid has been sent to the Yerevan-based Central Oncology Hospital (two containers), the Radiation and Burns Hospital in Yerevan, the Regional Hospital and the Calouste Gulbankyan Hospital in Gyumri, and two hospitals and three clinics in the Kashatagh region of Nagorno Karabagh.

The core Ararat Lodge team of volunteers is headed by Jack Medzorian, ably assisted by Varujan Masrof, Sarkis Gennetian, and Albert Movsesian from the Arakadz Lodge. Other volunteers who have contributed their services to this project are Haig Deranian, Charles Guleserian, Krikor Shaboian, Juan Gheridian, John Peterson, Saro Khachikian, Albert Tsaturyan, and George Elanjian. This team is responsible for identifying needs, acquisition, packing, shipping, and follow-up at the ultimate destination. In addition, they do fundraising for donations to cover IMEC’s out of pocket costs over and above their volunteer personal services.

Also contributing equipment and supplies to this project are local members of the medical community, Dr. Nishan Goudsouzian, Dr. Paul Barsam, Dr. James Fantazian,

Dr. Donald Shushan, Dr. Jack Kasarjian, Dr. Sarkis Kechejian (deceased), Dr. Gary Zartarian, and others.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of our volunteers, thousands of patients have benefitted from improved medical care in the communities we have served,” said Medzorian, the program director of the K of V Medical Aid Program. Dr. Hayro Galstyan, as surgeon and the director of the Central Oncology hospital in Yerevan, thanked the volunteers, saying: “We appreciate your efforts to help our hospital. Thanks to your assistance we now have a functioning mammography department, improved/updated endoscopy equipment, anesthesiology machines, other needed medical equipment, as well as countless medical supplies. We hope that with the help of our friends and compatriots from abroad, we will be able to fight this terrible disease (cancer) and improve the health and quality of life of our people.”

Medzorian reported that the K of V team is planning a new project, this time in collaboration with Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), for shipment in early 2010 of a container to medical clinics in the six-village cluster located in the Armavir marz bordering Turkey.

To donate medical supplies and equipment, or make a tax deductible donation to the project, email or call (781) 729-6457.

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