WiRED’s Community Health Workers Report from Kenya
Providing Critical Healthcare Services amidst COVID-19
By: Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy
WiRED International’s corps of trained community health workers (CHWs) continue to deliver vital healthcare services in Kisumu, Kenya, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
During three weeks in March, 12 CHWs reached 4,533 people with basic clinical services, health education and health surveillance. The CHWs were not able to assist as many people as is usual in a month because all 12 workers also completed WiRED’s Vaccinator Training Program (VTP).
The main health-related issues the CHWs did address included the following:
- COVID-19 (#1 health concern)
- Malaria (see sidebar for malaria vaccine news)
- Child growth and development
- First aid
The next step for CHWs is to pass the VTP qualifying exam. Once authorized, the CHWs will be ready to administer COVID-19 injections once vaccines are available. Note that CHW training is ongoing because WiRED requires them (and doctors and nurses) to continuously take classes designed to refresh their knowledge and to learn new skills. Expanding WiRED’s very active training programs is critical in these times of COVID-19 and overtaxed healthcare systems.
Results of New Malaria Vaccine Trials Show Heartening Results
The Lancet journal reports that a new vaccine (RTS,S/AS01) is the most successful candidate to date to prevent malaria and has proven to be safe and effective. The trial took place on children living in the land-locked West African nation of Burkina Faso, a highly seasonal malaria transmission setting.
Progress on global efforts to control malaria has stalled in the last four years. The World Health Organization states that in 2019 there were an estimated 229 million malaria episodes — with 90% of deaths occurring in Africa, the majority in children.
To learn about the disease itself, go to WiRED’s Malaria modules here.