WiRED Brings New Round of Health Training to Medical Students and Nurses in Nicaragua




Briefing several medical students before
first community health training exercise.

iRED International expanded its work with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Leon, by training medical students both onsite and in the field this July, providing equipment and updating the WiRED Health Learning Center modules. The trip strengthened WIRED’s community health outreach through its valued partnership with the university, professors and students. This marked the 15th year that WiRED has been providing medical and health education in Nicaragua.


On this occasion, WiRED provided the medical school with a projector, laptop computer and Spanish-language module library, and supplied a half-dozen flash drives containing the library to encourage students to share the files with others. WiRED Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., teamed with clinical psychologist Santiago Castellon, WiRED’s coordinator in Nicaragua. Together they held two training sessions at the university’s medical school for around 60 fourth-year students.


Pressing Request Leads to WiRED’s
Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension Module

Benito Blanco, M.D., medical director of the Totogalpa Health Clinic in Nicaragua, became alarmed at seeing an increase in preeclampsia cases. He contacted Mr. Castellon in early June and asked if WiRED could develop training material on the condition. We responded by launching our Pregnancy Induced Hypertension Module in time to bring it to Nicaragua during this summer’s trip.


An earlier story explains that the module describes blood pressure, its levels and types; hypertension and its signs, diagnosis and treatment; risk factors; and possible consequences for the mother, which include damage to kidneys and other organs, life-threatening preeclampsia and eclampsia; and early delivery and low birth weight for the baby. WiRED’s program underlines the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and discusses prenatal care and nutrition, medications, and the need to avoid alcohol and tobacco.

Dr. Selnow and Mr. Castellon showed the students the module structure — the key points, question and answer sequence and then the final exam, all of which carefully reinforce the main concepts in each module. They also explained how to engage an audience in lively discussions about the key issues covered in the modules.


University medical students are required to conduct community health outreach training, and in the past have had only chalk and a blackboard with which to conduct community health sessions. Now the students can use WiRED’s module-loaded laptops and projectors. Over the next two days Dr. Selnow and Mr. Castellon observed students as they engaged in sessions using WiRED’s training program.


Dr. Selnow and Mr. Castellon held another training session on pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia at the Totogalpa Health Clinic in northwest Nicaragua, near the Honduran border. They presented WiRED’s Pregnancy Induced Hypertension Module to an audience of nurses and other medical staff who are seeing increasing cases of high blood pressure and preeclampsia in pregnant women. These modules will help healthcare providers and general audiences understand this condition that threatens the lives of women and their babies everywhere in the world.


Dr. Selnow said, “WiRED’s volunteers are committed to improving the lives of people in underserved countries through medical and health education. We encourage everyone — in Nicaragua and in all underserved regions — to copy and share our material. Our professionally written, peer-reviewed health education modules are available to all without cost.”



Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Leon

WiRED has worked with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Leon, for more than a decade. This state-funded public university, founded in 1680, is the oldest in Nicaragua, the second oldest in Central America, and the last university founded by Spain in its American colonies. The WiRED team works with Jorge Alemán Pineda, M.D., dean of the Faculty of Medicine. WiRED’s work in Nicaragua flourishes and expands through its valued partnership with the university and its professors and students.


Credit: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Leon



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