Children of Armenia Charitable Foundation (COAF) aims at maintaining and improving health conditions of children and adults living in rural areas, as well as preventing illnesses. Rural population often has no access to high-quality medical services since specialized medical institutions are mainly centralized in urban communities. COAF applies the principle of holistic approach, conducting various health-related programs, emphasizing and promoting the idea of healthy lifestyle, and providing access to high-quality primary healthcare.
- PROMOTING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE IN SCHOOLS
- SCHOOL NUTRITION
- CAVITY PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
- PRIMARY HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENT
- HEALTH SCREENING AND EDUCATION
LIFESTYLE IN SCHOOLS
Forming healthy behavior from early age significantly decreases the morbidity rate and improves life quality. That is why COAF has been developing and conducting Healthy School program that includes not only health education training courses and seminars but also a healthy lifestyle club, health promotion events in schools, healthy school environment grants, etc.
Health education seminars and healthy lifestyle clubs are organized in schools to discuss healthy nutrition, general and oral hygiene, teen health, first aid, puberty and reproductive health, bad habits, and more. Healthy lifestyle seminars are designed for all schoolchildren, whereas more interested students can join healthy lifestyle clubs.
Seventeen schools in Armenia have joined Schools for Health in Europe Network. Sixteen of them are from COAF beneficiary communities. It helps our beneficiary schools to apply the best practices of European countries to promote healthy lifestyle in schools. The ideology of Schools for Health in Europe program totally fits into COAF health interventions in schools and communities. In the framework of the program, teachers, students and parents join their efforts to create healthier environments in schools. To support that strategy, COAF provides schools with grants.
Healthy lifestyle clubs in rural schools are actively involved in organizing health-promoting events. In the framework of grant programs, schools often initiate fascinating and unique projects, such as health-promoting puppet shows, sanitary facilities renovation, hiking tours, access to safe drinking water in schools, building sportsgrounds, “fruit and vegetable promotion days”, etc.
According to the results of the research Schoolchildren’s Healthy Behavior in Armenia, most Armenian schoolchildren never have breakfast in the morning, buy unhealthy food in schools or even stay hungry till the lessons end. The problem is even more distinct in rural areas, leading to children’s malnutrition and worse academic performance.
COAF Healthy Nutrition program has been forming healthy behavior in schools since 2013, providing easier access to healthy food and health education events. The program includes school cafeteria renovation and furnishing, as well as providing children with warm food throughout the schoolyear, in collaboration with UN World Food Program.
In the framework of the program, brushodromes – special hand-washing and tooth-brushing areas – were designed and built at all the school cafeterias. Each child gets a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste from COAF once in a quarter. Thus, tooth-brushing becomes a healthy daily habit for children.
Healthy nutrition and hygiene training courses are yet another significant component of the program. This initiative helps to inform children of the impact food can have upon their health. As a result, children manage to form healthy behavior from early age.
Dental care program aims at fighting cavities, especially among primary school students. This multi-component program contains elements of education, prevention and treatment, trying to overcome the problem of cavities. It includes։
- Oral hygiene
- Free dental treatment campaigns.
Oral Hygiene. COAF has been organizing oral hygiene training courses for kindergarten and school students, as well as their parents. Elementary school students are taught to brush their teeth in specially designed brushodromes. Launching brushodromes is an innovative solution promoting dental health care in schools.
Currently there are 31 brushodromes in COAF beneficiary villages.
Free dental treatment campaigns. COAF has been conducting free dental treatment campaigns for socially underprivileged children – through 3 COAF-launched dental clinics.
Often rural communities have no access to health institutions, modern medical equipment, diagnostic tools, and up-to-date approaches to disease prevention and treatment. To improve primary healthcare services, COAF has been renovating rural medical institutions, furnishing them with equipment, conducting supportive supervision of medical staff and contributing to rural doctors’ sustainable professional development.
Armenian doctors from Diaspora have been greatly supporting COAF in this process, voluntarily conducting training courses for rural doctors, and seeing patients with them.
In the framework of doctors’ network formed by COAF, medical workers meet regularly to conduct discussions, share success stories and challenges.
COAF conducts health screenings for women for possible early-stage detection of breast, thyroid and cervical cancer. Screenings include clinical, ultrasound and cellular examinations. The above-mentioned types of cancer are widely-spread in Armenia, whereas socially underprivileged women in rural communities neither have geographical access to medical screenings, nor can afford them.
Educating rural population is another important component of the program. The target audience consists of pregnant women, young mothers and elderly people suffering from chronic diseases.
COAF has adopted the strategy of contributing to local medical experts’ capacity development. COAF-trained rural doctors and nurses have already taken over health screenings and health education activities previously conducted by COAF experts.