Armine’s* parents grew anxious as their daughter’s mental condition deteriorated. Armine had long struggled with mental illness, but in recent months her behavior had turned violent. She was becoming a danger to herself and her family members. Armine’s parents turned to a government-run hospital in the province of Armavir for help. The family had made use of this hospital before when Armine first displayed signs of aggression. The hospital administration agreed to treat the girl only after her parents paid an “unofficial fee” for medical services. Reports of such bribes are common in Armenia’s healthcare sector and concerned family members, like Armine’s parents, are often willing to do anything for the health of their loved-ones.
Though discouraged by their first experience at the hospital, Armine’s parents were desperate to treat their daughter’s condition and returned to Armavir for medical care. Once again, the hospital’s director refused to treat Armine unless her parents came up with the customary “fee.” This time Armine’s parents refused to pay and instead took their case to the Armavir Advocacy Assistance Center (AAC). The Armavir AAC is one of eleven centers located throughout the country where victims of corruption can receive free legal assistance. AAC lawyers filed a case in court to establish that Armine was entitled to free medical services at government facilities. Within two months, the case was decided in Armine’s favor and the hospital was required to admit her free of charge.
With the legal support provided by the Armavir AAC, Armine’s parents were able to defend their rights and obtain the free medical services their daughter was entitled to. AACs across the country are helping citizens stand up against corruption in the healthcare sector.
* The name in this article has been changed for confidentiality purposes.