BAFA’s involvement in health was borne out of the personal involvement of François Antounian in conducting orthopedic surgeries in Armenia following the earthquake of 1988. Between 1990 and 1999 François visited Armenia regularly to work with medical colleagues mostly at Erebuni Hospital, the Military Hospital, Marash Orthopedic Institute and later St. Nercess the Great Medical Center. By volunteering his time and providing orthopedic care on a pro bono basis he trained Armenian medical staff both in Armenia and in San Francisco and leveraged contributions of instruments and medicine by others. In lieu of providing direct medical care BAFA’s emphasis has changed in recent years to providing health education, especially in schools and through local civil society organizations.
Building Capacity and Expertise BAFA subsidized the training of four surgeons from Armenia – 2 orthopedists and 2 trauma specialists. They were each trained in special programs devised for their needs at UCSF-San Francisco General Hospital. Their training period varied from 6 months to 18 months.
Shipping Equipment, Supplies and Medicine BAFA coordinates the collection, packing and shipping of donated medical supplies to Armenia. By subsidizing shipping costs, BAFA enables medical professionals to leverage their networks and secure contributions of medical equipment free of charge. These have included cutting edge technologies such as arthroscopes, as well as needles, sutures, catheters, implants, screws, plates and eyeglasses.
Providing Eye Care to Those we Serve BAFA enabled doctors to provide eye examinations and prescription glasses to those we serve in the soup kitchens and to students and teachers in 33 schools in the Tavoush and Aragatsotn regions. BAFA conducted over 7,300 eye exams and provided over 800 new prescription glasses. During the course of these examinations, several otherwise undetected eye diseases that could lead to blindness were detected and referred to treatment at the Malayan Eye Institute in Yerevan.
2008 & 2009 Grants to Promote Health
$2,600 - Eyeglasses to Soup Kitchen patrons
$2,400 - Providing a village access to water
$5,000 - Promoting a healthy lifestyle and HIV education in schools
$10,000 - Teacher training in healthy lifestyles
$2,972 - Continuing education of an Armenian eye doctor