In 2001 WiRED began to open information centers throughout Kenya where anyone could come and learn about health and disease, individually or in groups. Then, people largely sought information about HIV/AIDS.
In the initial phase of the COVID-19 epidemic, when many people complained of troubling symptoms long after infection, scientists, healthcare providers, even family and friends did not believe them. Gradually skepticism gave way not only to global credence but investing millions to support research on the long-term effects of COVID-19.
April 22 is Earth Day. WiRED International board members, staff and volunteers wish everyone a meaningful Earth Day. Ever since the first Earth Day in 1970, each year Earth Day voices our global environmental consciousness, calls the world to action
WiRED International announces Virgil Scudder’s retirement from the WiRED Board. To honor his service to the organization, WiRED has named him to emeritus status.
Mr. Scudder’s involvement with WiRED spanned more than 20 years. He firmly believed in the in the important role played by information and training in prevention, early detection and prompt treatment. In a 2020 opinion piece, Mr. Scudder highlighted the value of WiRED’s work in offering medical education and information to vulnerable communities through its Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program and Vaccinator Training Program. He said, “In the current COVID-19 environment, it is likely that prevention will be the CHWs’ most worthy contribution.”
This December members of the WiRED International community contributed “lunch money” donations to the Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund in order to purchase groceries and Christmas treats for more than 200 families in Kisumu, Kenya, where our community health workers provide their medical and health services.
For years, WiRED has collected small amounts of money from Board members and friends for what we call the Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund (see sidebar). Sister Bernadette Nealon and her staff at several clinical centers in Kisumu, who use WiRED’s health education programs, have covered small necessities needed by the local population with these funds. These supplements include money for medications, food for hungry children and rides to a hospital for the sick who would otherwise have to walk.
2020. The year of COVID-19. Although we at WiRED International know that the pandemic will not end soon, we are heartened by the generosity and dedication we have seen throughout the year from friends, neighbors, colleagues, healthcare workers, essential workers everywhere and in the WiRED community. Our common humanity continues to be tested as we realize our individual health depends on global health.
In early December the Lancet called for an urgent Africa COVID-19 plan of action to protect communities where the virus is still persistently spreading. To that end, WiRED International’s community health workers (CHWs) — graduates of WiRED’s CHW training program — continue their committed service to teach and inform communities in Kisumu, Kenya, about how to prevent and address COVID-19 and many other health concerns. WiRED CHWs provide crucial support to underserved populations with basic clinical services and in teaching first aid, health and preventative measures — knowledge that the people can then apply at home with their own families.