The team Is doing great! Everyone is working hard and they have seen many Patients with chronic disease, including thyroid diseases, COPD, and many diseases related to smoking. The team is highly efficient and are already working together like they have known each other for years. They are finding Armenia to be a very interesting place!
Favorite moments of the day: Yana had an old gentleman who tried to get her to marry his son. DJ and Gabby had a patient who came back for glasses 4 times and scared away an interpreter. Dr. Joseph saw a case of severe scoliosis and referred to our local physical therapist who joined our team. Jane counseled many people on the harms of second hand smoke. The entire team saw a lot of chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, headaches and body aches. At the end of the day, a few team members enjoyed a couple of hours at a local mineral spring pool. They are looking forward to another busy day at clinic tomorrow!
TEAM ARMENIA saw 185 patients today. It was a great day in clinic. Health education has been a major focus of this team because so many patients have chronic diseases. Smoking is rampant – Armenia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world – and RN Jane has been counseling every patient on the dangers of first- and second-hand smoke. Goiters and other thyroid diseases are also common. Most patients don’t have the funds to access healthcare and don’t understand how to care for their own health. The team has done a great service in this beautiful, extremely poor country. Dr. Joseph, an expert in Behavior Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, has seen many patients with severe anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. There are no mental health services available for these patients, many of whom have seen significant trauma.
We have one more day of clinic left, followed by a teaching day and some sightseeing. Dr. Lisa and Dr. Joseph will lecture to physicians and medical students in the morning and the team will also visit some local hospitals. Seeing local hospitals is a highlight of many IMR trips! Dr. Lisa, a Pediatrician, will be lecturing on reactive airway diseases in children (and how second-hand smoke is detrimental!) and pediatric rashes. Dr. Joseph will lecture on seizures and muscle weakness.
Some favorite moments from our Team Leader, Dr. Lisa:
RN Genae and Dr. Lisa did house calls for home bound patients and were welcomed in with open arms and served tea, fruit and snacks.
RN John helped several parents struggling with cancer and depression and was brought homemade bread.
Medical Staff Members Ally and Yana did a great job triaging and got to hug all the kids!
Medical Staff Member Deepty helped fit many pairs of glasses and was so kind and wonderful.
Here are some comments from the team about their trip so far.
I think the craziest thing about Armenia is reaching for the blood pressure cuff and the patients look at you as if it’s totally foreign. It’s so crazy that some of the patients we see have never even had their blood pressures taken or don’t know what the thermometer is to take their temperature. It just goes to show you the limits they have on access to any sort of healthcare, and how blessed we really are. -Corrine
The most interesting aspect of Armenia is its history and how it has affected it’s people. We have been working in run down areas that were once thriving before the Soviet Union collapse. Nearly every person has a lot of anxiety and they don’t understand why. It shows how different the U.S. is compared to Armenia and how blessed we are to have access to all sorts of healthcare. -Lauren
We heading to clinic in a bouncy van, passing orchards, vineyards, and fields with mountains all around. On the way we will stop at a monastery dating from the fourth century, with the Ararat mountain in the background. It has been a very rewarding and enriching experience sitting face to face with these amazing people. Hearing their stories puts me in touch with our common humanity. Each day we are rewarded with amazing food that is organic and fresh. I really wish you were here! -Jane
Armenia is an astonishingly beautiful country with a rich history. What has fascinated me is how little the people know about maintaining their own health. We see different trends of illness in each of the villages we see, and everyone faces different challenges. The people of Armenia have been incredibly welcoming and grateful, and it really makes our hard work worth it. -Allie
As on my other trips, I’ve been amazed by how welcoming and friendly everyone has been. Armenians are extremely proud of their beautiful country and rightfully so. It has truly been an unbelievable experience! -DJ
This is a great trip I am enjoying my task dispensing eye glasses, really rewarding feelings, all are great. Good team. I will sign up for next year. Lisa is so great and super organized, lots of love. -Deepty
I’ve really enjoyed being able to speak Russian with our patients and some ground team members– learning a lot from them! Everyone in Armenia has been extremely welcoming and grateful for our help. I love working in clinic, working and learning from the team! -Yana
The Armenians have been very welcoming and always excited to talk to us about their culture. It has been great to not only provide medical services but to experience their culture and land as well. Everything from cuisine, historical landmarks and typical Armenian past time activities. Who could forget swimming in a natural spring pool in scrubs! -Leakara
It has been really interesting to see the chronic diseases of the people and the need for lots of education. Lots of people have wanted to know about their conditions, how to treat them and what causes them. A lot of education has been spent on diet modifications, hygiene, and disease specific management and their need for education is just so incredible. I really enjoyed seeing the prison pitts at the monastery at mount Ararat. -Genae
This trip has been wonderful! The people of Armenia are eager to see us at the clinics each day. The medical issues we have been seeing are much different than what I’ve see on my past trip with IMR. What has really captured my attention has been the need for health education among all age groups. Also it has been amazing having Joseph and Lisa on our trip teaching all the students more about health care and various diseases. -Gabby
Where do I start??? This trip has been amazing! Armenia is a beautiful country with a rich history. The people of Armenia are very proud of their country and the heritage they have. It has been a real treat to see Mt. Ararat and a couple of beautiful very old monasteries dating back to the 4th century. As far the clinic work goes, the people are very eager to see us when we get there. We have come to realize that because of the oppression they have lived under has caused a lot of this. They are very grateful for what we are here doing for them. It is very good for me to see how healthcare works in another part of the world. So glad for the opportunity. -John
Armenia has been a lovely surprise. The people are so happy to have our help. They have a well developed medical system, but many people are too poor to access these services. Also, mental health issues are rampant and under treated. Most of the conditions we see are related to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, anxiety, depression, and tons of thyroid disease and goiters. There is also a lot of osteoarthritis. The food here is delicious, and Mt Ararat is a beautiful, imposing presence looming over us. -Joseph
Armenia is a fun and interesting country with a lot of cool history. I have enjoyed visiting some monasteries and seeing Mt Ararat near the Turkish border. During clinic, I have enjoyed doing vitals, shadowing the doctors, and helping patients get around. I have especially enjoyed getting to know all of my great team members and having a chance to work with them! This experience has definitely helped me to prepare for my future career in the medical field. -Naomi