Community Health Worker RelatedCurrent YearGlobal HealthInfectious DiseaseNoncommunicable Disease

Monthly Update from WiRED International’s Community Health Workers in Kenya

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By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine

WiRED International’s community health workers (CHWs) in Kisumu, Kenya completed another successful month of providing health services and referrals to thousands of people. In fact, the average number of persons reached in a month in 2023 has nearly tripled since 2021!

WiRED reports that during the month of November 2023, 21 community health workers (CHWs) in Kisumu, Kenya, reached a total of 9,417 people with health services. Working 24 hours per week, each of the CHWs met with at least 42 patients a week, and the largest number seen in a week by a single CHW was 157, most of them in health training classes.

In November the top health-related issues were, as follows, in order of prevalence:

  1. Cholera
  2. Malaria
  3. Tuberculosis
  4. Hygiene and sanitation
  6. Handwashing
  7. Pneumonia
  8. Family planning
  9. Mental health

Sadly, the Kisumu community faces the same health concerns year in and year out — with malaria and HIV/AIDS usually heading the list. The difference is that CHWs are teaching people how to recognize and understand their illnesses. CHWs, working locally, are trusted by the population and are the first line of defense against infectious and non-communicable disease. The good news is that CHWs not only teach disease prevention but they witness the improved health of the people practicing it. And with the addition of WiRED’s Health Screening Clinics, CHWs can reach even more people, especially those in isolated areas.

WiRED staff and medical professionals just completed training a team of new CHWs. Stay tuned for a story in January 2024.
Here is sample feedback from these newly trained WiRED CHWs:

The WiRED training was a great opportunity for me to learn and explore different health issues affecting my community. I believe I can now help educate my community about issues related to health. My becoming the link between the community and our healthcare facility is very beneficial. Teaching my community about important health issues that affect our lives will bring positive change. —CHW Marion Akinyi

The CHW training helped me a lot. Now I know how to use various medical tools like blood pressure machines and thermometers to screen members of my community. I now have knowledge of first aid, which I can apply confidently to the public. —CHW Peter Olito

The CHW’s training really changed my life. It helped me to stand before people and talk with confidence because I was well trained with important information for my community. Also, our teachers modeled how to elicit and handle personal and difficult questions sensitively. I appreciate having had this opportunity to learn how to help people who might be shy like me. —CHW Susan Osoik

The CHW training helped enlighten me in so many ways. I know now that there are many health issues that can be managed early on, just through giving health education to people. The trainers were very good in teaching the information. They took us through diseases and their causes and prevention, and also gave us skills on how to handle the population. These skills will help us teach basic knowledge to our communities and precautions regarding current emerging health issues. I am very grateful to the entire WiRED team for this wonderful opportunity. I truly believe that I can now make a greater, more positive change in my community. —CHW Titus Oduogo