One day last year, Natasha read about Gary’s work in a Half Moon Bay Review article and also heard his colleague Bess Klumb speak at the local Rotary Club about the use of computers among orphans in the Balkans. She asked if he thought computers might contribute to AIDS prevention programs in Africa, especially among the youth orphaned by HIV/AIDS. He figured they could, so they talked about it, and that conversation started a chain of events that is leading now to a network of Community-based Health Information Centers in Africa.
Pauline Karani provides day-to-day management of the Kenyan Community Health Information Centers. She ensures quality control and the proper functioning of each Center by visiting the sites regularly. Her responsibilities include coordination of maintenance, equipment, information and staff.
In a remote area of Western Kenya is a small village called Butula. Here, the villagers, most of whom are illiterate or semi-literate, met with great jubilation and enthusiasm the installation of four computers by WiRED International. The Community Health Information Center is in one of the few rooms with electricity.
It was a typical equatorial day, sunny and warm, as we started our site visits with a stop at a Center outside the Kajiado district where the Masai people live. These dirt roads are unmarked, and we thought we took a wrong turn until we saw the tin-roofed hut ahead and the people standing outside to greet us.
Sister Bernadette Nealon, Program Manager of the Community Health Program in Kisumu, Kenya — where one of WiRED’s Community Health Information Centers is located — related this account to Pauline Karani, WiRED’s Administrative Manager.
I just returned from a site visit to the Community Health Information Centers in Kenya. These facilities are continuing their remarkable work getting out the HIV/AIDS message and providing other medical information to local communities.
Mwanaisha Narotso wears many masks. She is not only sells fruit and grains at the local market but she is also a well-known traditional birth attendant and a herbalist. Like other herbalists, Mwanaisha deeply believes in her traditional cultural practices.
Eric, age 20, was unaware of his health problem until he visited WiRED International’s Community Health Information Center (CHIC) in Butula, Kenya. Intending to learn more about sexually transmitted diseases from WiRED’s medical e-library, Eric realized that he might be suffering from syphilis.
Following the success of the initial five Community Health Information Centers (CHICs) in Kenya, WiRED International created 11 additional Centers that will not only provide access to health information, but will also include community outreach programs for people who find it difficult to travel to the CHICs.
Rose Otaye has been living with HIV/AIDS for several years, and at this time she displays no symptoms of the illness and lives an active, productive life. One of Rose’s many activities is to council HIV positive people; her special focus is nutrition.