Community Health Worker RelatedCurrent YearGlobal HealthInfectious DiseaseNoncommunicable Disease

Monthly Update from WiRED’s Community Health Workers in Kenya

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By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine

The expanded team of WiRED-trained community health workers (CHWs) in Kisumu, Kenya, reported another successful month of providing health education to their area residents.

During the month of February 2023, 20 CHWs in Kisumu, Kenya, reached a total of 9,398 people with health services. Working 24 hours per week, each of the CHWs met with at least 66 patients a week, and the largest number seen in a week by a single CHW was 176, most of them in health training classes.

Overall, the top health issues for the month of February were as follows, in order of prevalence:

  2. Malaria
  3. Sexually transmitted diseases
  4. Family planning
  5. Cholera
  6. Cancer
  7. Hygiene and sanitation

Among the nearly 10,000 community residents reached in February, CHWs addressed in clinics and classrooms a staggering number of health issues, each of which is noted in this word cloud:

Malaria Is a Serious and Sometimes Fatal Disease

Imelda Anyango, CHW

I know personally that having malaria is a bad experience. Before I became a CHW, I contracted malaria. When I felt malaria symptoms coming, I used to buy over-the-counter drugs and dose myself. I heard of two children who died from malaria because their over-the-counter drugs did not work. By the time they were taken to the hospital it was too late to save them. After becoming a CHW I then knew that this was not a good idea. Malaria can return time and again.

As a CHW, what I do to help malaria victims is to advise them to visit health facilities for a proper check-up to determine whether it is malaria or not, because some diseases have similar symptoms, such as influenza or COVID-19.

I also tell people who have been diagnosed with malaria that they must complete their doses and must avoid drug abuse.

Also, we as a community need to get rid of the mosquito breeding places (e.g., clearing bushes, removal of stagnant water) and to sleep under treated mosquito nets.

—Imelda Anyango, CHW

Arthritis in Young People

Pauline Adhiambo, CHW

Many in our community still believe that arthritis only affects older people. As a CHW, I have come across so many young persons living unknowingly with arthritis.

Little by little I have educated young men and women crying out in pain about arthritis and explained the various treatment options of physical or occupational therapy. I tell them about the different causes of the disease from wear and tear to autoimmune disease or inflammatory conditions. My efforts are really starting to help these young people.

—Pauline Adhiambo, CHW