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WiRED’s Community Health Workers Update from Kenya

WiRED’s Community Health Workers Update from Kenya

CHWs Fully Trained as Vaccinators to Protect their Communities

By Jessie Crowdy; Edited by Allison Kozicharow

When WiRED International’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Kisumu, Kenya, graduated early in 2020 nobody could have foreseen that they would soon have to defend their communities from a global pandemic. WiRED’s CHWs continue to witness firsthand the effects of COVID-19 on their communities and the impact the pandemic is having not only on health but on businesses, jobs, schools and daily life. As fully trained vaccinators, thanks to WiRED’s Vaccinator Training Program (VTP), WiRED’s CHWs now stand ready to further support their communities by working with local doctors and nurses to distribute and administer vaccines as soon as they arrive.

Despite the fact that mass vaccine rollouts are allowing some world regions to re-open for commerce and tourism, due to vaccine disparity, Africa has become overwhelmed with cases. In Kenya, the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on lives and livelihoods, while only 2.6 % of Kenyan adults have been fully vaccinated. Economic and security experts fear that, post COVID, Africa is facing an economic calamity.

In the month of July, WiRED’s CHWs in Kisimu reached a total of 5,129 people with health services. COVID-19 continued to be the primary concern while other issues addressed included malnutrition, depression and drug abuse.

In the month of July, WiRED’s CHWs in Kisimu reached a total of 5,129 people with health services. COVID-19 continued to be the primary concern while other issues addressed included malnutrition, depression and drug abuse.

Reduced employment due to a curfew has exacerbated a desperate public health situation. As reported in statements from WiRED’s Kisumu CHWs last month, hospitals in the area are full to capacity with COVID-19 patients, so other illnesses are unable to be treated. Their following testimonies show how restrictions have severely affected pandemic-weary communities.

“Many people have lost their jobs due to the closure of work premises. As compared to last year, cases of school dropouts due to lack of school fees have increased because of parents losing their jobs. Shortage of the vaccine has also been witnessed as a small percentage got vaccinated. “ — Juliete Omollo, CHW

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some of the Kisumu residents lose their jobs due the closure of workplaces. With the curfew that starts at 7pm and continues to 4am businesses, especially those that sell food, have seen losses.” — Mildred Digolo, CHW

“The Delta Variant has led to more restrictions and curfews within Kisumu and its environs. There is a possibility of even more stringent measures to curb the third wave.” — Daniel Ayieko, CHW

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