WiRED International trains community health workers in Kenya

Monday, December 14, 2020

In 1997, while a professor of business at San Francisco State University and on a Fulbright assignment in Croatia, Gary Selnow founded WiRED International, with the goal of promoting health education in disadvantaged regions around the globe. WiRED collaborated closely for 20 years with SF State’s Marian Wright Edelman Institute and continues to have a former SF State president and former and current faculty on its board.

community health worker graduating class in KenyaIn February of this year, the WiRED International team completed the first field test of its Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program in Kisumu, Kenya. More than two years in the making, the WiRED CHW basic curriculum follows World Health Organization guidelines and provides a continuing medical education component that enables CHWs to maintain their credentials. The program is translated into several languages.

Selnow said, “The comprehensive content and the global delivery features of this training program make it the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”

After the pandemic arrived, WiRED augmented the curriculum to include essential COVID-19 training modules. A recent documentary, which has received recognition from several film festivals, describes the health challenges faced by people in underserved regions and how the CHW program trains local people to address health conditions. 

WiRED’s CHWs in Kisumu are providing guidance, information and support for health issues. Their work is particularly important during this pandemic because they provide health surveillance for other continuing illnesses such as pneumonia and cholera that could easily be overlooked without these trained monitors. Since early summer, WiRED’s first team of 15 CHWs addressed the needs of more than 6,000 people each month with health services on topics such as the coronavirus, malnutrition, hypertension, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS.

During the past five months, additional four-week, training sessions have been completed in India, Nicaragua and Peru. These programs were taught either in-person or online.

Pictured above: WiRED’s First Graduating Class of Community Health Workers in Kisumu, Kenya, February 2020