The Lwala Community Alliance is a community-led innovator proving that when communities lead change is drastic and lasting. Lwala was founded by Drs. Milton and Fred Ochieng’ — brothers from rural Western Kenya — in response to the loss of their parents to HIV. During medical school at Vanderbilt University, the brothers did all they could to raise the funds and catalyze their neighbors to build their community’s first hospital. Milton and Fred’s story is the subject of the documentary “Sons of Lwala” and has been featured on ABC World News and CNN.
Today, Lwala is much more than a hospital. We support people in their homes, schools, and farms to advance their own comprehensive well-being.
Right now, we are in an all-out effort to drastically reduce under-5 child mortality through tackling the key drivers of deaths – gender inequity, unplanned pregnancies, poor prenatal care, unskilled deliveries, poor clinical practices, lack of emergency transport, and delayed treatment of childhood illnesses.
We improve health outcomes through a community-facility approach, supporting clinical services at government health facilities and running a robust community health worker program. We track and support every pregnant mother, child under 5, and person living with HIV in a population of 30,000 in western Kenya. We open community and facility access points for reproductive health, maternal, HIV, and child health services as a comprehensive package. We also work with approximately 2,700 youth in 13 government primary schools to increase retention rates, particularly amongst girls, as a key determinant of health outcomes. This multi-dimensional approach supports Lwala’s mission to build the capacity of the people of North Kamagambo to advance their own comprehensive well-being.
We also promote education outcomes through our support of 17 government schools. We work through school management committees to provide sanitary pads and uniforms, Water and Sanitation access, reproductive health education, and leadership mentorship. Through these interventions we have increase the ratio of girls graduating from primary school from 37% in 2009 to 44% in 2015. Right now, we are piloting literacy interventions to boost the academic achievement of boys and girls.
We unlock access to financial services through our Community Savings and Credit Cooperative and linkages to formal banking. This access unleashes the innate ability of community members to develop and grow their own small businesses. We also link community members with health insurance, ensuring sustainable access to health financing.
In April 2007, after 3 years of fundraising, the Lwala Community Health Center finally opened. Over time the program has become multi-dimensional to include public health outreach, economic development, and education programming. A focus on girls’ and women’s empowerment is a significant component of many of the program areas.
In April 2011, construction on a new maternity and integrative care wing was completed, tripling the space of the original clinic. As a result, the facility is now designated as the Lwala Community Hospital. Then, in November 2014, we broke ground again to expand the hospital. Our clinical staff at the hospital provide around 30,000 patient visits each year, and we around 1,000 people enrolled in HIV care. Our education program reaches out to 15 schools and we employ over 180 Kenyans through our various programs. All of this work is made possible through the support of numerous individuals and a network of partners.
You can help us sustain our existing programs and roll out further initiatives by making a donation now.