February 7, 2003
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Johnnie Carson joined Business professor Gary Selnow for the opening of a new Medical Information Center at the University of Nairobi Faculty of Medicine on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The Center is the latest installation by WiRED (World Internet Resources for Education and Development), the nonprofit that Selnow founded to address social and health problems in developing countries. Nine health information centers in Kenyan villages are already at work helping to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. WiRED also operates centers in the Balkans and Latin America.
"The Ambassador's participation highlights growing international recognition of the crucial connection between access to information and the health of developing nations," Selnow said. "This computer facility--the first available in Kenya's largest medical school-will enable students and faculty to access information that has, to date, been beyond their reach."
The center will feature ten computer workstations outfitted with a medical e-library and Internet connectivity, providing Kenyan doctors and medical students with access to essential tools for education and research.
"Everyone in Africa is touched by AIDS," Selnow said. "In communities where up to 25 percent of the population is HIV infected, everyone has lost a family member or close friend and continues to care for other people suffering from the disease. They know the importance of having up-to-date facts to use in the treatment of AIDS and in the ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of HIV."
WiRED is filling an enormous need for reliable, up-to-date health information in Kenya. The majority (94 percent) of healthcare professionals surveyed this past summer in the communities WiRED serves said they receive at least 50 percent of their medical information from WiRED resources.
WiRED plans to develop a country-wide Health Care and HIV/AIDS Information Network in Kenya that links the university with local Centers. The network will accommodate student and faculty lectures, research and other field activities to strengthen the study and the practice of medicine and improve the information available to health professionals in the field.
School of Business professor Gary Selnow founded WiRED in 1997 and serves as its Executive Director, collaborating frequently with SFSU’s Marian Wright Edelman Institute.
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