Armenian diaspora supports to Covid-19 response
Exchange of expertise among Armenian and diaspora medical professionals with experience in treating Covid-19 patients, on recent trends of Covid-19 pandemic and efficient modes of treatment was supported through virtual meetings organised by the Armenian Mission of the International Organization for Migration in support of Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. These were initial attempts to identify and tap into diaspora support in addressing Covid-19 and engage the later in sectorial development initiatives in Armenia, as a result of which good partnership among diaspora doctors with Armenian colleagues were established and maintained.
The objective of the diaspora engagement practice was to support an effective response to the outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Armenia from its early stages and demonstrate how non-traditional actors – diaspora – can support in acceleration of the SDG-s especially during the crisis. Diaspora has always been one of accelerator’s for Armenia’s development in many phases of its history. Diaspora support was immense in overcoming of socio-economic challenges, in supporting education and scientific innovations. The objective of this practice was to promptly mobilize and support diaspora engagement to address the health emergency, and support application of SDGs and in particular Goal 3 in developing countries.
The diaspora engagement initiative aiming to provide prompt response to Covid-19 pandemic in Armenia was framed to support SDG target 3.c, calling to train and retain the health workforce, SDG target 3.d on strengthening the capacity of countries for early warning and management of health risks, SDG target 17.16 on enhancement of multi-stakeholder partnership, aiming to enhance to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology to support the achievement of the SDG-s and SDG target 17.17 encouraging promotion of effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships.
Diasporas are a driving force for development in many countries. Being one of the largest and oldest diasporas, the Armenian diaspora has always supported Armenia to overcome the challenges in different stages of its history. A number of studies have been carried out on the Armenian diaspora, trying to reveal the identity issues, diaspora activities in certain communities, history of diaspora and role of diaspora representatives, played in socio-political, cultural, economic life in countries of destinations. In 2018, with IOM support, Armenian diaspora professionals in France and the United States were mapped through the application of innovative approach by using big data, which included analysis of web traffic and onomastic analysis of public databases, helping to understand the points of concentration of Armenian professional diaspora by fields of expertise, education and location. The research and mapping of the diaspora found its practical application since the early stages of the outbreak and spread of Covid-19 in Armenia when, in support of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia and with the aim to engage Armenian professional diaspora in the Covid-19 response, two virtual meetings were organised among Armenian leading doctors-radiologists with diaspora doctors from New York and Paris – the cities, mostly affected by Covid, who were identified through the mapping process. Through these meetings, diaspora medical professionals were able to provide Armenian colleagues with key insights and information to support Armenia’s own response to the pandemic and treatment of Covid-19 patients. These interventions did not require any additional financial resources and was enabled due to prompt response and willingness of diaspora experts.
Due to diaspora support and share of practice and knowledge, the Armenian doctors treating Covid cases in Armenia discussed and better understood the global trends, most effective methods and ways of treatment of Covid, the most recent scientific publications and their implication in practice, as well as other countries' (especially the US) efforts undertaken towards the application of artificial intelligence for tackling the pressing issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic. The tangible longer-term benefits of the virtual meetings-discussions are the partnerships that have been established and can continue between the Ministry of Health and Armenian hospitals with NYU School of Medicine and School of Medicine of Paris Descartes University. The impacts directly support SDGs on Good Health and Well-Being (Targets 3c, 3d), Partnership for the Goals (17.16, 17.17) and Target 10.7, calling for improved migration management.
The enabling factors, facilitating the implementation of these activities were, first and foremost, prompt response and willingness of the medical professionals from the diaspora, the efforts and quick actions of the IOM Mission in Armenia, openness for collaboration of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. The main constrain was online discussion. Study visits and face-to-face discussion are preferable mode of communication.
The practice demonstrates how effective diaspora mapping and engagement strategies can be quickly and effectively leveraged to allow developing countries to benefit from the knowledge and experiences of experts abroad even in urgent crisis situations. Through the use of online platforms, diaspora support can be provided in a cost-effective manner. These initial engagements have set in place relationships to build more systematic cooperation with Armenian diaspora in the health sector. These types of practices can be replicated in other countries through the effective mapping of diaspora professionals and can go beyond emergencies or healthcare sectors to include acceleration of other SDGs by leveraging diaspora expertise and resources in a cost-efficient manner. In this regard, IOM will continue working with the Armenian Government towards development of an institutional approach for engagement and interaction with the diaspora which can create more sustainable and impactful relations.
This practice was in support of the Armenian governments Covid-19 response. Covid-19 did not have direct impact on its implementation as the urgency of the situation required online exchange of information. However, in future engagements instead of online meeting, offline exchange of expertise could be possible for longer term development initiatives.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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The Republic of Armenia, the United States of America and Republic of France.