WiRED Expands Work in Armenia

Recent Visit Underlines Continued Partnership with WiRED – Armenia


Mt. Ararat

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

Introduction

 

This June the WiRED International team completed a busy and productive work agenda in Armenia in order to provide continued support for community health concerns in that country.

 


WiRED in Armenia

Since 2012, WiRED has worked in Armenia to provide programs that allow doctors, healthcare workers and community members to access critical education to combat health issues relevant to Armenia’s underserved people. Health learning events, employing WiRED’s training modules, have been sponsored by WiRED – Armenia, WiRED’s close partner on many critical community education projects. Today, poverty and the lack of reliable medical information are creating a healthcare crisis for the people of this Eurasian country. For information on WiRED’s work in Armenia, go to the WiRED International – Armenia Facebook page.

WiRED’s mission in Armenia is to foster a strong and effective program which will provide communities in this post-Soviet state with accurate, dependable and effective health education, administrative support and training outreach.

 

WiRED Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., reported that WiRED – Armenia Director Sebouth Baghdoyan (see sidebar) ensured the success of the trip by managing a complicated schedule visiting facilities and coordinating the activities and meetings.

 

Actions

 

WiRED and its Armenian partners accomplished a great deal during this trip.

 

The WiRED team held daily training sessions in locations such as the Wigmore Clinic on basic introduction to anatomy, the Orran Benevolent NGO on dental hygiene and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia on high blood pressure. WiRED also assembled meetings at the Emil’s Sun Center for Disabled Children and the Austrian Children’s Hospital.

 

In addition, WiRED International and Caritas-Armenia completed administrative agreements for ongoing health efforts (we will provide additional information about the agreement in a subsequent story) and made provisions to hire a coordinator for training programs. They also laid out a plan to test WiRED’s upcoming community health worker (CHW) training program, which is part of a WiRED’s global effort to prepare CHWs for their many duties in developing regions.

 

The WiRED team discussed the CHW program with Armenia’s Minister of Health, Arsen Torosyan, M.D. Dr. Torosyan said, “I believe these community health workers can make a valuable contribution to the well-being of our people, and I look forward to the implementation of this training program designed for them. I hope it will improve the current health protection mechanisms, and I’m eager to see the results.”

 

“In our work we find that WiRED’s modules offer an effective source of medical information related to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and much more. This interactive material provides an accurate and reliable approach to building health knowledge.”
— Maretta Kurghinyan, M.D.,
and Ruzan Harutyunyan

The Deputy Minister of Health, Lena Nanushyan, also met with WiRED. Ms. Nanushyan said, “I know about WiRED from a previous briefing on your organization. The information in your modules, translated into Armenian, has supplied important health material to many people. We look forward to the CHW project that you will test in Armenia. A successful training package, which prepares health workers to assist particularly in rural areas, would be a very useful resource with a significant potential impact on community health.”

 

In addition, Arpine Baghdoyan — Country Director, Near East Foundation, European Union — also joined a meeting with WiRED. She operates a major program that addresses women’s issues, including women’s health, and she took particular interest in WiRED’s Mother and Child Health program. Ms. Baghdoyan said, “I look forward to establishing cooperation with WiRED International in order to increase health awareness and expand disease prevention practices of women in Armenia. WiRED’s modules offer the tools our trainers need to provide women with reliable, evidence-based information. The fact that these modules are offered free of charge enables people to access the best information, without the limits imposed by cost.”

 


WiRED – Armenia Director Sebouth Baghdoyan

 


Sebouh Baghdoyan

Sebouh Baghdoyan is an experienced international expert with more than 40 years of professional practice with international and non-governmental organizations (e.g., the United Nations, European Union, European Commission, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) in the fields of project design and management.

 

Since 2007 Mr. Baghdoyan has been serving as an advisor and consultant to a number of governmental and non-governmental institutions, organizations and companies, mainly in Armenia, Austria, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, the US and Uzbekistan. Mr. Baghdoyan has been working as country manager for WiRED Armenia since 2012 and today coordinates all country activities, including partner relations, training and delivery of health education programs.

In Gyumri, in northwest Armenia — and the epicenter of the devastating 1988 earthquake that killed more than 25,000 people — the WiRED team met with a group of 12 people who hold health training classes using modules from WiRED’s Health Learning Center (now available through the Health Module Access Program). Dr. Selnow described the upcoming CHW project and shared details of the program. Two meeting attendees, Maretta Kurghinyan, M.D., and Ruzan Harutyunyan offered this statement: “In our work we find that WiRED’s modules offer an effective source of medical information related to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and much more. This interactive material provides an accurate and reliable approach to building health knowledge.”

 

Rotary Involvement

 

In mid-2018, the Rotary Club of San Jose in California offered to donate four projectors and a laptop computer with which organizations in Armenia can deliver group training sessions. Three Rotary members — Tim Hegstrom, Ph.D., Mike Conniff, Ph.D., and Justin Hegstrom — joined Dr. Selnow on this trip and made official transfers of the hardware to local WiRED-Armenia groups. WiRED International and WiRED-Armenia thank the San Jose Rotary for this generous donation, which will enable thousands of people to engage in health training programs throughout Armenia.

 

Dr. Hegstrom said, “The fact that WiRED’s modules are written by medical experts, and continually updated to reflect the current state of medical research and practice, is vital. One of the most impressive insights from the Armenia trip was how interactive the process was; doctors suggested topics that were needed in their practices and offered to help provide content for new modules.”

 

“The fact that WiRED’s modules are written by medical experts, and continually updated to reflect the current state of medical research and practice, is vital. One of the most impressive insights from the Armenia trip was how interactive the process was; doctors suggested topics that were needed in their practices and offered to help provide content for new modules.”
— Tim Hegstrom, Ph.D.

Conclusion

 

No matter where WiRED goes, whether Peru or Kenya or Armenia, the team always asks doctors and other medical professionals about new module topics they could suggest to help in their work. Among the suggestions offered during this visit are: cerebral palsy, children with disabilities, pediatric hypertension, effects of water and air pollution on pregnant women, and thyroid diseases.

 

This process enables WiRED to identify new topics and thus stay in close touch with medical professionals abroad. WiRED is responsive to requests from doctors and nurses who know their populations. WiRED then assembles the resources needed to produce appropriate modules. While doctors in Armenia have suggested these topics, we know the resulting modules will be used extensively in other countries as well.

 

Dr. Selnow said, “I find the WiRED-Armenia alliance to be personally and professionally rewarding. Many Armenians contribute their time and talents in a very active program that provides valuable health education to populations throughout the country. We at WiRED are enthusiastic about the continued growth of this partnership.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

WiRED’s Community Health Worker Training Program



Physician density varies widely among countries, with around 500 doctors per 100,000 people at the high end and 3 per 100,000 at the low end. The lowest physician counts are usually found in the poorest regions of Africa, parts of the Middle East, South Asia and segments of Latin America. With doctors and nurses absent or scarce, people are left alone to heal the sick, deliver children and address chronic illnesses, all with skills uninformed by effective medical practices.

 

CHW services are wide and varied and differ from place to place. A lingering problem is how to train CHWs with a standard curriculum while adapting to local differences in health conditions, cultural norms, government requirements and resource availability.

 

We are now developing the curriculum and we will soon research a comprehensive CHW training program for low-resource communities. It will provide an adaptable CHW training program that offers a core curriculum augmented by tools to meet local needs. Further, it will provide a continuing health education program, enabling CHWs to stay abreast of current trends and to remain informed if outbreaks should occur.

 

 


You can download the modules mentioned in this story, and all 400+ of WiRED’s health modules, through WiRED’s Health Module Access Program (HealthMAP) by clicking here. This easy-to-use free program will enable you to create your own customized collection of health learning modules. You can learn more about HealthMAP through WiRED's animation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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