Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, WiRED International is pleased to have achieved many goals, especially the launch of our life-saving Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program in four countries — our largest and most ambitious project to date and several years in the making. CHWs fill in the gaps in low-resource regions where doctors and nurses are scarce, and provide a critical link between the medical community and populations in desperate need of clinical services and prevention training.
This December members of the WiRED International community contributed “lunch money” donations to the Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund in order to purchase groceries and Christmas treats for more than 200 families in Kisumu, Kenya, where our community health workers provide their medical and health services.
For years, WiRED has collected small amounts of money from Board members and friends for what we call the Sunshine-Mitzvah Fund (see sidebar). Sister Bernadette Nealon and her staff at several clinical centers in Kisumu, who use WiRED’s health education programs, have covered small necessities needed by the local population with these funds. These supplements include money for medications, food for hungry children and rides to a hospital for the sick who would otherwise have to walk.
2020. The year of COVID-19. Although we at WiRED International know that the pandemic will not end soon, we are heartened by the generosity and dedication we have seen throughout the year from friends, neighbors, colleagues, healthcare workers, essential workers everywhere and in the WiRED community. Our common humanity continues to be tested as we realize our individual health depends on global health.
As the COVID-19 vaccine distribution rolls out in countries around the world, many of us have questions. Is it safe? Should I get it at all?
The global race to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine has been swift and fierce — arguably the most massive effort humans have ever mounted against a disease. Now that vaccines exist and have passed through clinical trials for safety and effectiveness, the majority of people have to get vaccinated for the world to be rid of this deadly disease. As long as the virus lives in the human population, it will continue as a threat.
In early December the Lancet called for an urgent Africa COVID-19 plan of action to protect communities where the virus is still persistently spreading. To that end, WiRED International’s community health workers (CHWs) — graduates of WiRED’s CHW training program — continue their committed service to teach and inform communities in Kisumu, Kenya, about how to prevent and address COVID-19 and many other health concerns. WiRED CHWs provide crucial support to underserved populations with basic clinical services and in teaching first aid, health and preventative measures — knowledge that the people can then apply at home with their own families.
Meet WiRED International’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) Tracking Application!
Each year, after completing their training, all community health workers (CHWs) are required by WiRED to earn 50 continuing education units to maintain their year-to-year certification. Continuing health education is also a World Health Organization requirement for all CHWs. This program (we call CHWE—continuing health worker education) enables CHWs to reinforce their knowledge and learn new skills. They stay current on scientific findings and the latest diagnostics and treatments for health conditions that may impact their communities.
Tuesday, December 1 is World AIDS Day. This year underserved communities face greater risk for HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts AIDS prevention, testing, treatment and care services.
WiRED International’s board and volunteers wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
This American holiday is about sharing, and this year that must include the sharing of good health practices as COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing everywhere at an alarming rate. Counter to the large celebrations we have come to expect at Thanksgiving, people this year are wise to avoid gatherings of more than a few close family members, to maintain social distance, to wash hands often and to wear a mask.
WiRED International is pleased to welcome Violet Grgich to the WiRED Governing Board. Tatjana Grgich, Violet’s mother, director of the Tatjana Grgich Family Foundation, served as WiRED’s first board member and continued to guide and support WiRED throughout her lifetime.
Thyroid disorders exist globally, but especially in countries where health care is scarce and testing is rare. In October WiRED International released a Thyroid Diseases Module in response to an urgent request from our partners in Armenia, specifically from Arpine Baghdoyan, who is the Near East Foundation’s Country Director, Armenia. Armenia suffers from an alarmingly high incidence of thyroid issues, and now WiRED offers the module translated into the Armenian language: Վահանագեղձի հիվանդություններ.