LOS ANGELES–Recent reported cases of the Bird flu in Azerbaijan and Georgia prompted the Ani and Narod Memorial Foundation (ANMF)–through its Millennium Children’s Vaccine Fund (MACVF)–to expand its health awareness program in Armenia into the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) to implement preventative measures against the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus.
MACVF–with the cooperation of UNICEF–USAID–The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations–and the Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Health–currently provides seven basic vaccines–Diphtheria–Hepatitis B–MMR (Measles–Mumps–Rubella)–Polio–Pertussis (whooping cough)–Tetanus–and Tuberculosis–to all of the approximately 37,000 children born in Armenia each year.
The threat of an avian influenza pandemic in Karabagh caused great alarm amongst health administrators. "We cannot afford a disruption in the health and economy of this vital region," states Raffy Ardhaldjian–ANMF Chief Volunteer Officer–"We had to nip this potential epidemic in the bud."
Training in Stepanakert–the capital of Karabagh–was initiated by ANMF/MACVF on March 27–with the Ministries of Education and Health along with the Hanganak NGO actively involved in the training of nurses and teachers from Stepanakert–Askeran–and Shushi. Frida Yeritsyan from Armenia’s National Institute of Education trained the participants on innovative and effective methods for working with children to avoid the spread of the avian flu. Representatives from the MKR Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Emergency Situations were invited to answer specific questions of the trainees.
With the main objective to enhance public awareness on avian influenza preventive measures–ANMF organized reproduction and dissemination of informational materials in MKR: 2000 copies of two-sided leaflets–500 copies of posters for schools–and 800 copies of teacher’s manuals with the detailed description of new interactive methods for working with children.
Training was also conducted in the Martuni–Hadrut–Martakert and Lachin regions of Karabagh.
MACVF continues to strive toward its goal of immunizing 560,000 in Armenia within the next ten years. To learn more about the organization–visit www.ani.org.