WiRED-Armenia Conducts Online Thyroid Diseases Training
Addressing Serious Thyroid Issues in Armenia
By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine
On October 30, 2022 WiRED-Armenia volunteer Narine Baghdoyan conducted an online training for women in the Nerkin Khndzoresk community in southeastern Armenia on the topic of thyroid diseases, using WiRED’s Thyroid Diseases module. WiRED-Armenia has been affiliated with WiRED International, and for 10 years has conducted health education in this Western Asian country.
In the beginning of the session on thyroid diseases, Arpine Baghdoyan — who is the Near East Foundation’s Country Director, Armenia — described WiRED and the importance of knowledge and awareness to prevent diseases. Thyroid problems affect many women in Armenia. Participants in the thyroid training class came up with a number of questions about thyroid disease effects and symptoms. After the presentation, the women discussed their next steps on fighting the disease.
‘’This is really an important initiative for rural women as they do not go to the doctor when they face a health issue. So, by becoming aware and getting knowledge on the disease, they may be better able to save their lives and reduce the risks of diseases,’’ noted Ms. Baghdoyan.
Thyroid disorders exist globally, but especially in countries where health care is scarce and testing is rare — as in Armenia. In October 2020 WiRED released its Thyroid Diseases Module in response to an urgent request from our partners in Armenia, specifically from Ms. Baghdoyan. Armenia suffers from an alarmingly high incidence of thyroid issues, and WiRED offers the module translated into the Armenian language: Վահանագեղձի հիվանդություններ.
Upon the module’s launch WiRED-Armenia Director Sebouh Baghdoyan said, “Since many decades, thyroid-related health issues were increasingly developing in Armenia, mostly in girls and women. The introduction of this WiRED module is indeed very timely, highly needed and instrumental in raising our population’s awareness.”
Thanks to dedicated translators, WiRED now offers more than 20 health education modules in the Armenian language on topics of pressing national concern. Retired orthopedic surgeon Ara Nahabedian, M.D., supervises the translation process, and Mariam Sargsyan coordinates the work of several translators.
Armenia faces many challenges today. Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide and a recent war with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh have resulted in Armenia’s uneasy relationships with these neighbors. Further, recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan have broken out now that Russia, Armenia’s former ally in that conflict, is distracted with the war in Ukraine.
Add to that, poverty and the lack of reliable medical information are creating a healthcare crisis for the people of this Eurasian country.
WiRED has worked in Armenia since 2012 to provide programs that allow doctors, healthcare workers and community members access to critical education to combat health issues relevant to Armenia’s underserved population. Health learning event employing WiRED’s training modules have been sponsored by WiRED-Armenia, its close partner on many critical community education projects.
A group of Armenian physicians and NGOs is currently exploring opportunities to begin community health worker (CHW) training. Building a corps of CHWs can help fortify healthcare resources, particularly in rural areas of the country.