On July 4th, WiRED International’s volunteers and board celebrate along with millions of other Americans who have been fortunate enough to get their COVID-19 shots, and are now free from most restrictions faced last year at this time. We are reminded, however, that people in most of the countries we serve are still waiting for an opportunity to receive their shots, avoid the infection and get back to a normal life.
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).
WiRED International’s Vaccinator Training Program is firing up in Kenya and Peru, and articles will appear soon chronicling its progress. In the meantime, here are some recent updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and the rush to get populations vaccinated as cases rise worldwide.
Scientists expect viruses to keep mutating; sometimes they emerge and disappear and sometimes they emerge and persist. Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating globally, and CDC is monitoring these variants per the following classifications:
• Variant of interest
• Variant of concern
• Variant of high consequence
On Monday, March 15, 2021, WiRED launched the first class of our Vaccinator Training Program (VTP) in Obunga, Kenya. Nurse Winnie Nafula and clinician Zablon Kitoli are leading the instruction. Twenty-six students are taking the 45 hours of training, after which they will sit for a final exam, and, if successful, will receive a WiRED certificate. WiRED has already trained 15 Community Health Workers (CHWs), who since the fall of 2020 have made over 6,000 monthly contacts addressing basic health problems and dispensing general health information among their communities. These CHWs have been instrumental in teaching many thousands of people about COVID-19 prevention measures. Soon, they will introduce basic information about COVID-19 vaccines, so the communities will understand the value of the shot and be ready when vaccines arrive.
The COVAX global effort to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved countries is well underway. But what needs to happen to get doses from airports to arms?
WiRED International announces the launch of our Vaccinator Training Program (VTP), based entirely on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) training curriculum but with enhanced features to prepare what we call grassroots vaccinators. The objective of WiRED’s program is to train people at the local level to move vaccines safely from central drop-off points to communities, to prepare the communities for vaccinations, to properly screen patients, to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and to monitor patients after the shot.
WiRED International’s board of directors and volunteers are saddened to report the death of Guillermo Guerra at age 60 from COVID-19 on March 2, 2021, in Iquitos, Peru. Mr. Guerra was a longtime friend of WiRED through his work for Project Amazonas, WiRED’s partner in serving the health needs of low-resource communities along the Peruvian Amazon.