If all of NATO’s might can’t keep the peace in the Balkans, maybe the Internet can. That’s how one Bay Area professor is trying to bring peace to war-torn Croatia. Founded by San Francisco State professor Gary Selnow, the Global Learning Center is using computers to teach cultural tolerance to schoolchildren in Eastern Slovenia.
WiRED’s work in the Balkans began in 1997 in Vukovar, Croatia, a small town on the banks of the Danube River in the region known as Eastern Slavonia. Over the next few years, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), our work extended throughout each of the former Yugoslavian countries.
WiRED successfully launched the first Medical Information Center (MIC) in Baghdad early in 2003. That Internet-linked computer facility began WiRED’s program that in the next few years would outfit 39 MICs across Iraq.
The University of California, Berkeley, recently selected WiRED International as the School of Public Health’s 2009 Organizational Public Health Hero. Berkeley recognized WiRED for “its achievements in using information technology to provide up-to-date health education and medical information to individuals in developing, post-conflict, and isolated regions of the world.”
Over the years, most of WiRED’s work in Central America has been funded by the pooled contributions of generous donors — board members, volunteers, friends of WiRED — who saw a need to assist the medical communities with educational resources. In the summer of 2008, we launched a large project to outfit hospitals in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.
Sometimes the largest barriers to critical medical care are connections to medical experts. Information may be available, but not getting to the people who most need it. WiRED’s ten years of experience connecting doctors to experts and making medical information readily accessible meant a quick solution to both these problems in Kirkuk, Iraq, during a cholera outbreak in June.
WiRED began work in Iraq early in the spring of 2003. We joined with the U.S. Department of State’s Global Technology Corps, headed by Jim Mollen , who was exploring ways in which computers could assist in the redevelopment of the embattled country. WiRED’s mission was to explore how computers and possibly the Internet could provide Iraqi doctors and medical students with access to the latest scientific research, diagnostics and treatment techniques.
In 2001, WiRED began work on a network of health information centers in Kenya, including 19 Community Health Information Centers (CHICs). WiRED’s primary goal is to raise health standards of Kenyan communities, and members of the community believe these Centers are ideal resources from which to obtain current information about health care.