A government decree in Armenia that bars pregnant women who are not residents of Yerevan from receiving free childbirth services in the capital is causing discontent in outlying regions.
In a bid to boost population numbers, the state covers the costs for childbirth services in Armenia. Seeking better facilities and medical personnel, pregnant women from the regions often travel to Yerevan to give birth. In 2012, 64 percent of the 70,648 women registered for state-provided childbirth assistance gave birth in Yerevan, according to the National Statistical Service.
The May 1 decree issued by the Ministry of Health was designed to encourage improvements at hospitals in the country’s 10 regions. Under the measure, women will only be able to obtain state-paid birthing services at hospitals in regions where they have an official address.
To read the full story
Gayane Abrahamyan is a freelance reporter and editor in Yerevan.