Perishing for Lack of Knowledge
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
The man walked slowly, seemingly in pain, into WiRED's Community Health Information Center (CHIC) in Kisumu. The look of trepidation
on his face belied his fear; he did not know what to expect from this visit, and obviously expected the worst. When welcomed by a friendly
staff member and offered a chair, he did not sit-not because he didn't want to, but because he couldn't.
The staff member spoke gently and inquired what kind of information the man wanted. "I need to know about sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS,"
he replied. The staff member quickly got CD-ROMs on these subjects from the center's digital library and helped him access the information on a nearby
computer terminal. The man, still standing, took a keen interest in the information and began asking questions. Suddenly, he recognized something that
looked familiar. Yes! That's what he had. His symptoms matched one of the diseases he saw on the CD-ROM. The next click of the mouse explained the
disease's treatment. So it had a cure? Tears of joy welled up in his eyes. There was hope after all.
The man earnestly explained his predicament to the staff member. He had been suffering from painful symptoms for several weeks, but was too ashamed to ask
anyone for help. He had lost hope and thought he was going to die. When he heard about CHIC he decided to see if he could get any sort of information that might help.
The CHIC center in Kisumu is housed within the larger community health department, and so following their consultation, the CHIC staff member referred the man to the
health clinic located next door. There, he was diagnosed with an STD, prescribed medication, and given an HIV test. To his great joy his results were negative.
A quote from the Bible (Hosea 4:6) says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge," a truth deeply demonstrated by this man's story. He would have died in pain and
hopelessness, if not for the information provided by CHIC. His is only one of many stories; rural Kenyans rely on CHIC for a broad spectrum of health information needs.
With your generous support, WiRED can expand these services, and bring them to parts of Kenya that lack even the most basic health information. Please help WiRED help
others from perishing for lack of knowledge.