2019 in Review
BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN
WiRED International’s staff, volunteers and board celebrate the end of our 22nd year of providing free community health education in low-resource regions of the world. WiRED’s hundreds of training programs in our Health Learning Center prepare people in a wide variety of topics such as mother and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases, diabetes control, HIV/AIDS and more.
Community Health Worker Program
As we begin our 23rd year, we are completing our most far-reaching program yet: a comprehensive community health worker (CHW) training curriculum designed to prepare community members to fill in where doctors are in alarmingly short supply. In many regions where we work, there are as few as three doctors per 100,000 people; the CHW program will help ease the burden on these underserved communities. WiRED expects to launch this program in the spring with pilot projects in Kenya, Peru, India and Armenia.
Global Health Issues
Climate change and associated environmental hazards strike the entire planet but hit underserved populations hardest. Among the nearly 80 articles written for its website this year, WiRED posted several editorials on issues related to the dangers of climate change. WiRED continued to follow the scientific principles of One Health, which recognizes that human, animal and environmental health are critically interrelated.
In the past year WiRED posted web articles on our new modules including labor and delivery, autoimmune diseases, understanding communicable diseases, child nutrition and other health-related topics central to populations around the world. Other WiRED stories included op-eds from board members and testimonials from people in communities WiRED serves.
In 2019 WiRED circulated and promoted our Mother and Child Health Series: Motherhood Before and After in order to reach as many women as possible. Our 24-part comprehensive training program is designed to assist families, caregivers and CHWs to prepare families for a healthy pregnancy, delivery and the early years of childhood. The series is also being used by schools, clinics and hospitals and nongovernmental organizations.
This year WiRED continued to report on topics of global concern such as the World Health Organization’s Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019, updates on antibiotic resistance and measles, dengue and Ebola outbreaks.
As always, WiRED stressed prevention in our training programs. In 2019 The Medical Journal of Southern California Clinicians published an article entitled “The Quiet Work of Disease Prevention,” co-written by WiRED International Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., and WiRED Board member William Crano, Ph.D. The authors discuss the benefits of prevention and how to message prevention as a positive health outcome.
Work in Specific Countries
WiRED’s evidence-based, peer-reviewed health modules can be copied, downloaded and shared free of charge virtually by anyone anywhere in the world using our Health Module Access Program (HealthMAP). While our focus is facilitating free global access to our material, WiRED continues to maintain a physical presence in several countries through our partner relationships.
This year WiRED refined a comprehensive Electronic Medical Record system specially designed for partners in Kenya and the Peruvian Amazon to aid clinic operations. The systems serve thousands of impoverished people in facilities providing essential health care to isolated communities.
In Kenya WiRED continued to graduate community members from our two certificate programs — General Module Completion Program and Mother and Child Health Program — which encourage people to study health training modules.
In Armenia, with support from the Ministry of Health, WiRED expanded our reach by signing a memorandum of understanding with Caritas Armenia. The agreement formally acknowledged WiRED’s educational programs for continuous professional development of healthcare providers.
On January 1, WiRED will unveil our redesigned website. Our new look and content will present a graphic and easy-to-navigate description of what we do, what we’ve done and who we are. It will present testimonials from people who know our work on the ground. The website will display multiple stories at once and offer plenty of photos to show how people all over the world use and benefit from WiRED’s health training programs.
All of us at WiRED are planning an exciting and productive 2020 as we double down on our ongoing commitment to global health education — especially through the launch of our CHW program, WiRED’s largest and most ambitious program to date. We urge you to join us in 2020 as we strive to raise the quality of health knowledge and the prevention of illness in remote and medically starved communities worldwide. It is our firm belief that community health begins with knowledge.