Kenya: Lwala Healthcare Project
Lwala Community Hospital Report, Q1 2015
May 07, 2015
Katherine Falk & Liz Chamberlain
Summary of Activities
• Funded maternal and child health costs including:
o Personnel costs for nurses Rose Gayo and Vincent Onsongo
o 58% of medicine costs
• Funded ambulance repairs and maintenance
• Funded fuel for ambulance to provide emergency transportation
• Funded obstetric emergency referrals
• Funded miscellaneous additional needs
Continuing education sessions, case review meetings
The quality of weekday service provision has improved due to continuing medical education sessions, case review meetings, and ongoing supervision of staff by Head Clinician, Wycliffe Omwanda.
Community Health Workers mobilized
In response to the cholera outbreak, the Public Health team mobilized the Community Health Workers (CHWs) to conduct door-to-door outreach to teach on cholera/diarrhea symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
New Education Coordinator
Activies on schedule
The new Education Coordinator Emily Mbolo has shown strong initiative in planning and coordination of the education team, such that all activities are on schedule and successful despite teacher strikes that took place during all of January.
KIVA Loan Program
Borrowers approved for second, third loans
New borrowers continued to be enrolled in the KIVA loan program while several borrowers were approved for a second or third loan.
Progress in hospital expansion
New wing expected in June or July
Substantial progress has been made on the hospital expansion and the staff housing. On the hospital wing, the interior and exterior walls were completed and a roof is being installed; completion of the new wing is expected in June or July.
Lwala is a village of approximately 1,500 people near Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Within an hour’s walk, approximately 3,000 additional people live in nearby villages accessible by dirt roads. Poor physical infrastructure, including impassable roads during the rainy season, lack of electricity and lack of reliable drinking water, have helped to create a critical healthcare challenge in Lwala. The mission of the Lwala Community Hospital is to meet the holistic health needs of all members of the Lwala community.
- Improve patient care and clinical operations
- Improve access and facility infrastructure
- Expand and improve quality of education programs
- Professionalize the organization through better policies and practices
- Properly procure and account for physical, financial, and human resources
- Increase impact of health outreach programs
- Build capacity of community members in income generating activities
- Improve programs through better communication and monitoring and evaluation
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Njura Women’s Support Group
The Njura Women’s Support Group is a group of 40 widows living with HIV/AIDS in North Kamagambo who meet every Friday afternoon. The group was started in 2013 by a few widows who felt neglected, abandoned, separated and stigmatized by the community because of their HIV status. The widows were seeking medication from different health facilities in order to avoid being known as HIV+.
They started meeting weekly to learn from each other about HIV and to discuss how to live positively with the disease. The group also encouraged all members to contribute a small amount of money as a way to create a group savings program. Their intentions were good and clear, but the group faced several hurdles soon after formation: the members’ limited knowledge of HIV kept them from learning more about the disease, and the group savings program was struggling with very few people willing to contribute their own savings. As a result, most of the members felt the group was not benefitting them and many left.
The few remaining members happened to meet Vincent Onyango, an employee of LCA on the agriculture team and resident of the community, after one of their weekly meetings. Vincent told them about how LCA could help them achieve their group goals to empower each other physically, economically, and emotionally. After a series of discussions with the widows’ group and his coworkers at LCA, Vincent linked the group to LCA’s Clinical, Public Health and Economic Development teams. Vincent later donated a piece of land for the group to set up a poultry house, which is one of their group investment strategies.
Through its various departments, LCA has been able to help the group reach and exceed its goals in the following ways:
- LCA’s Clinical team offers the group psychological support through educational trainings and general counseling on stigmatization, which has helped members accept their status, increase their self- esteem, and establish a sense of belonging in society.
- Members go to monthly group adherence counseling sessions, where they share their health challenges and experiences. These sessions have greatly improved the members’ health status and improved their value of life. At these meetings, any sick members are referred to the hospital for free services.
- The Clinical team also carries out outreaches and home visits to offer health education on living positively, including proper nutrition and avoiding illness.
- LCA’s Public Health team occasionally visits the group to discuss sanitation and hygiene; as a result, every member of the group now has a toilet and observes best practices in personal hygiene.
- The Economic Development team trained the group on table banking (a group funding strategy where members place their savings, loan repayments and other contributions on the table, then borrow immediately as short term loans, often used to expand personal businesses or pay children’s school fees) and educate members on small-scale farming. The group has a vegetable farm where they grow vegetables to sell at a local market. Each member also has a personal vegetable garden for both home use and for income generation.
- The Economic Development team has helped the group start a poultry house, which now has over 50 hens. The group members plan to sell chicks in the local market.
The group’s members feel empowered in many ways – they are able to send their children and grandchildren to school, they are adhering to their treatment and living healthy lives, and overall, they are proud of their accomplishments.
Masline, a student in class 7 at Kuna Primary School, looks up to her two older brothers who both attend nearby secondary schools. Her mother is a single parent who spends much of her time selling vegetables at an outdoor market near their home so that all of her children can continue their education. Masline was recruited into LCA’s mentoring program (“Salama Pamoja”) by her teacher, who noticed that Masline often had a sad and gloomy demeanor about her. She acknowledges that she had to do a lot of chores at home that prevented her from focusing on her schoolwork and as a result, she often felt unprepared for school.
Masline joined the Salama Pamoja in-school mentoring program and was immediately glad that she did. She notes that the sessions on decision-making and priority-setting helped her to improve her behavior and become more organized, allowing her to better balance school and domestic work. The session on personal hygiene encouraged her to improve her appearance, which helped raise her self-esteem. The sessions on reproductive health and diseases even helped Masline better understand science. Through those lessons and her increased focus on school courses, Masline’s academic performance has improved. Her marks in science increased from 30 to 60 and her overall scores improved from 180 to 251, which allowed her to be promoted to class 7 in 2015. According to Masline, “the girls mentoring program has really improved my confidence – I am glad to report that I feel comfortable sharing with peers about my own life and I now encourage them to join the girls mentoring group at our school.”