The COVAX global effort to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved countries is well underway. But what needs to happen to get doses from airports to arms?
One answer is to train ordinary citizens in their local communities to vaccinate the millions of people in low-resource countries where doctors and nurses are scarce.
WiRED’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Kisumu, Kenya, continue to educate and strengthen their communities.
In the month of June, 12 WiRED CHWs reached a total of 5,101 people. Although COVID-19 remains an urgent focus, the CHWs addressed issues in their communities as diverse as malaria, nutrition, diabetes and drug abuse. Educating their communities on important steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as handwashing and bolstering the immune system, can have a positive impact on reducing other illnesses. This is perfectly illustrated by one of WiRED’s CHWs, who shares this example:
WiRED International launched the train-the-trainer portion of our Vaccinator Training Program (VTP) on July 6 when lead medical trainers in Kisumu, Kenya, connected by Zoom with medical professionals in Naguru, Uganda. A participant in Liberia also joined the session. The purpose of the three-day workshop was to prepare medical professionals to use WiRED’s VTP curriculum to train local vaccinators on how to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines scheduled to arrive later this year.
Less than 1% of Africans have received a vaccination against COVID-19. As the virus, strengthened by the Delta variant, sweeps through Africa, WiRED International’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) are preparing communities to accept the idea of vaccinations even before COVAX delivers the vaccines. Moreover, WiRED-trained vaccinators stand ready to administer vaccinations as soon as those vaccines are delivered. And so, training of health workers and vaccinators prepares these communities in two important ways: by gaining their acceptance of COVID-19 vaccinations and training workers to be ready to administer them.
In Kisumu, Kenya, WiRED’s CHWs continue to battle COVID-19 and other dangerous infections within their communities. What follows are excerpts from their recent reports.
On July 4th, WiRED International’s volunteers and board celebrate along with millions of other Americans who have been fortunate enough to get their COVID-19 shots, and are now free from most restrictions faced last year at this time. We are reminded, however, that people in most of the countries we serve are still waiting for an opportunity to receive their shots, avoid the infection and get back to a normal life.