NEW YORK, NY — In less than five years, the percent of pregnant women delivering in a health facility in a remote region of western Kenya has skyrocketed from 26% to 96%, resulting in a 50% reduction of neonatal mortality in the community compared to the region at large. This achievement is due to Lwala Community Alliance’s Commitment to Action to maternal and child health made at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting.
This Commitment to Action, titled “Safe Motherhood,” aimed to enhance the quality and extend the reach of maternal and child health services in Lwala, Kenya. This week, Dr. Milton Ochieng’, Lwala Community Alliance’s co-founder, returns to the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting to celebrate the fulfillment of “Safe Motherhood” and to announce a new commitment – this time to cut under-5 mortality in half by the end of 2016.
“While we’ve cut neonatal mortality by half, it is still painful to imagine that somewhere in Lwala a parent who was just as happy as I was when my daughter was born, will lose his or her bundle of joy within the next 30 days,” Dr. Ochieng’ said. “We cannot settle for this sad state of affairs. We must continue to work on reducing infant mortality in Lwala and the surrounding region.”
Lwala Community Alliance’s primary partner in achieving its impact in maternal and child health programming is Ronald McDonald House Charities. RMHC first invested in the work when the “Safe Motherhood” commitment was made in 2009, and then again committed funding over a three-year period beginning in 2014 to support Lwala Community Alliance’s new “Thrive thru 5” effort.
“The impact of Lwala Community Alliance’s work on the ground has been phenomenal,” said J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, president and CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities. “As a frontline health care provider, they have dramatically increased the rate of skilled deliveries over the last five years, which has effectively led to a reduction in early infant mortality. RMHC has seen the profound impact on children and their families firsthand and are excited about our current investment in Lwala’s work to ensure children not only are born safely, but stay healthy through the first five years of life.”
The new Commitment to Action, called “Thrive thru 5,” will extend the success of Lwala Community Alliance’s maternal and child health program to ensure that (1) 98% of pregnant women access prenatal care and deliver in a health facility, (2) 100% of newborns receive care after delivery, (3) 90% of children under 12 months are fully immunized, (4) 7,000 children under 5 have access to affordable primary care, and (5) local health workers are leading the effort.
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