These first-of-a-kind centers will give Iraqi physicians the information they need to catch up with medical developments after more than a decade of isolation.





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WiRED International and Affinity Internet Partner to Help Ease the Pain for Ill and Injured Children in Iraq


Iraq MCC Center

With so much grim news coming out of Iraq, it is heartening to hear about corporations and organizations that are striving to improve the quality of life for Iraqi citizens. Affinity Internet's support of WiRED International is a partnership that will bring good things to the seriously ill and injured children in this war-torn country.


Affinity Internet's award for the Best Charity Website, presented to WiRED International in December 2003 by Jim Collins, Affinity's Chief Marketing Officer, will provide the seed money to introduce WiRED's Video Visit Program in this part of the Middle East.


One of the most exciting developments in Phase-II of WiRED's Iraqi humanitarian services is the addition of WiRED's Video Visit Program. The Video Visit Program allows families of seriously ill children undergoing life-saving treatment in hospitals outside of Iraq to make "live" visits via Internet-linked video. The children and their families are often separated for long periods as the youngsters receive extensive medical treatments for wounds and other conditions such as heart surgery and chemotherapy; the medical treatments are provided free of charge by various international organizations. The families are too poor to accompany the children, so these youngsters face their treatments alone and at times without someone who can speak their language.


WiRED provides the hardware and software and trains staff at both ends of the communication exchange. The Video Visit is actually a two-way, real-time communication between children in distant hospitals and their families hundreds or thousands of miles away.


Since WiRED launched first launched the program in Kosovo in November 2000, it has been met with great applause. In addition to bringing families together during periods of medical emergencies, it is believed to have a positive impact on the physical health of the children. According to Dr. Mauro Lazzeri, medical director at the children's hospital in Pisa, Italy, the fear and trauma of the treatment is often intensified by the young patients'separation from their families. He notes that the effect of such a "Video Visit" can be nothing less than medically beneficial.


In addition of Video Visit, WiRED is expanding its Medical Information Center project started last summer under a grant from the U.S. Department of State. A segment of the Iraqi medical community, deprived of information from decades of international sanctions, dictatorship and looting, can now access modern developments in medicine through WiRED's Medical Information Centers. WiRED's program uses computers and a CD-ROM library to provide education on a broad range of healthcare topics, including respiratory diseases and childhood illnesses. As the Internet becomes available, Iraqi healthcare providers will be able to communicate directly with their counterparts around the world to make inquiries, seek consultations and explore new procedures.


The initial phase of this work, a test completed in 2003, included the installation of four Centers in teaching hospitals including the country's largest at the University of Baghdad. More than 2,500 medical faculty and students and health care professionals use the Centers regularly.


In the next few months, WiRED will implement Stage-II, which calls for the installation of 20 additional Centers in the outlying regions of Iraq, including the regions populated by the Shia and Kurdish minorities. "These first-of-a-kind centers will give Iraqi physicians the information they need to catch up with medical developments after more than a decade of isolation," says Gary Selnow, a professor of Communications at San Francisco State University who also serves as WiRED's Executive Director.


There is an enormous amount of healing that can be done for the children and families in Iraq. Buoyed by the spirit and determination of the Iraqi people, WiRED is grateful to Affinity Internet for the opportunity to help ease the emotional and physical pain of illness and disease for the young people in this country.


"We were thrilled and proud of the responses we received from our members. Acknowledging these customers and rewarding them for outstanding contributions to their community is an honor" said Peter Chambers, CEO of Affinity Internet. "It was remarkable to see how our customers are utilizing our solutions and services to create a compelling online presence. This reinforces our belief that our customers are the greatest in the industry."


Affinity Internet, a Web services provider, offers multiple hosting packages, easy-to-use software and e-commerce tools for small to medium sized businesses (SMB). Affinity operates multiple hosting brands—ValueWeb, SkyNetWEB, Bigstep, HostSave and WinSave—offering shared and/or dedicated servers, applications and products to meet specific and growing needs for a segment of the SMB market. By offering a robust network and unparalleled customer service, Affinity provides its customers and resellers with superior service, reliability and scalability. Affinity hosts more than 390,000 domains for more than 100,000 customers worldwide selling services directly over the Internet and through more than 2,000 resellers. The company is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, and data centers in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale.


WiRED works in cooperation with the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at San Francisco State University.


Click this link for further details about WiRED's Video Visit Program, and review WiRED's web site for additional services in Africa, Latin America and The Balkans.


Layout by Brian Colombe.

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