The World Health Organization (WHO), with funding from the European Union, has supplied X-ray equipment to 7 COVID-19 frontline hospitals – 1 in the capital Yerevan and in 6 other cities in Armenia. The new X-ray units facilitate monitoring of a patient’s progress and improve clinical decision-making. They are invaluable to COVID-19 hospitals which see hundreds of patients daily.
While traditional film X-rays continue to be effective in establishing a diagnosis, digital X-rays allow for images to be manipulated, providing better quality and definition. This allows for precise and fast diagnostics in hospitals. Stella Karapetyan, a radiologist at Martuni Medical Center, which has already started using the new X-ray equipment, says efficiency there has increased.
“During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had 120–150 patients daily,” she says. “The improved quality of images from the new X-ray equipment makes diagnosis quicker. Fewer retakes are needed, which reduces exposure to radiation and improves both patient and healthcare worker safety.”
WHO/Europe, in collaboration with the Armenian Ministry of Health, assessed and evaluated hospitals in preparation for the installation of the new X-ray equipment. WHO advised on the development of plans and technical specifications for the radiology rooms where the X-ray units would be located. These specifications included the need for large and well-ventilated waiting areas, which are crucial for preventing and controlling infection.
Claudio Meirovich, an expert on medical devices at WHO/Europe, visited the hospitals to check that the sites met requirements and international standards for installing the X-ray units. “WHO has developed guidelines and recommendations to assist countries to get the best value for their investments in medical equipment,” he says. “It is not just about technical specifications; it is also about compliance with standards of quality and about having trained staff to maintain the equipment. It’s about making sure that the rooms in the hospitals where the equipment will be installed are safe for workers and patients.”
Oleg Storozhenko, WHO Representative in Armenia, said the EU and WHO/Europe had joined efforts to help make Armenia’s health sector strong and resilient. “The hospital equipment we have procured will not only help patients with COVID-19 but will also assist in expanding the health system’s capacity to respond to future health emergencies,” he noted.