YEREVAN — Dr. Tom Catena, who leaves the Nuba Mountains only in utter necessity, will fly to Armenia in order to attend the Aurora Prize weekend of events and the Award Ceremony in Yerevan. He was nominated last year as well. But in 2016, he didn’t attend the ceremony. He couldn’t. This year, however, the people of the Nuba Mountains will be able to rely on three Armenian doctors who will be substituting for him, and, like him, will save lives.
Lieutenant Colonel Gevorg Voskanyan, Major Hayk Hovhannisyan and Armine Barkhudaryan did now waver for a second when told that they are urgently needed in a remote corner of the world.
“This isn’t my first mission. Twice in 2010 and 2013 I have served in Afghanistan as a member of the Armenian peacekeeping forces,” said Hovhannisyan, Deputy Chief of the Surgery Unit at the Central Clinical Military Hospital of Armenia’s Defense Ministry. “It didn’t take long to decide, considering the framework and urgency of the mission. To me it would be unacceptable to decline.”
“It is impossible to overestimate the value of humanism for physicians. I cannot be satisfied working under relatively easy conditions of peace while I see there are committed people who are serving in the most dangerous places and conditions, regardless of their ethnicity or religion,” observed Voskanyan, chief surgeon at the Central Clinical Military Hospital of Armenia, who has served 23 years as a military doctor.
In Sudan, Voskanyan and Hovhannisyan will be joined by Barkhudaryan, who is on a humanitarian mission at the hospital in Malindi, Kenya, where she is much needed.
“Every detail of Tom Catena’s story is inspiring, I don’t even know what to highlight. Both of us are doctors, yet it was very difficult for me to acknowledge where he is now, versus where I am. The person with the same profession as me risks his life, he serves so many patients, lives in those harsh conditions of war, and what about me, I thought?”