Kenya: Lwala Healthcare Project
Year End Report for Lwala Community Hospital
March 12, 2014
By Katherine Falk and Jonathan White
Summary of Activities
- Funded maternal and child health costs including:
- Personnel costs for Nurses Rose Gayo and Geoffrey Orangi and Nurse Aid Rosemary Akello
- 58% of medicine costs
- Funded ambulance repairs and maintenance
- Funded fuel for ambulance to provide emergency transportation
- Funded obstetric emergency referrals
Care & Counseling
All staff participated in World AIDS Day event, and 943 patients were tested and counseled for HIV.
Average monthly deliveries at the Lwala Community Hospital was 44 in Q4. A total of 643 deliveries in 2013.
Our lab moved to a new location and was equipped with upgrades. Graveling on the road improved for all weather conditions.
6 New Tanks
All 13 local primary schools now have access to clean drinking water. Now we are nearing completion of the latrine construction.
Seven iPads were supplied by Health e-Villages were issued to staff.
The New Vision Women’s Sewing group manufactured 350 school uniforms for girls. They also completed 700 cloth bags for partner Thistle Farms.
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
4th Quarter Numbers
This reflects the number of patients reporting for outpatient care due to illness and does not capture the mothers and children who report to the MCH clinic for growth monitoring, immunizations, family planning, antenatal care and postpartum care.
Lwala Community Alliance Participates in the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning in Ethiopia
In November, over 3,300 delegates from 120 countries traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). This year’s theme was “Full Access, Full Choice.” Lwala Community Alliance’s Kenya Deputy Program Director Mercy Owuor represented Lwala with a poster presentation titled, “Nearing 100%- Successfully generating demand for maternal and reproductive health services in Migori County, Kenya.” The presentation focused on Lwala’s maternal and child health program, which trains traditional birth attendants and community members as Community Health Workers (CHWs). Lwala’s CHWs have proved to be an effective strategy for increasing the uptake of skilled birth attendance and family planning.
Additionally, Lwala was featured in a recent Girls’ Globe article for ICFP titled: Family Planning: 3 Barriers Only Women Understand. In the article, Ash Rogers of partner organization Segal Family Foundation writes, “Lwala has integrated family planning throughout their hospital with family planning services available at every intake point […] 62 community health workers counsel women in their own homes, dispel common myths on sexual and reproductive health, and help women find the method that works for them. Lwala also [targets] youth with family planning education and information on available services. Since these programs began, Lwala has seen an increase in the average number of monthly family planning visits from 93 to 150. And, despite widely believed myths in the community about long-term methods (implants and IUDs), the number of women receiving long-term methods has more than doubled in the last 6 months.”
Finally, Lwala Deputy Program Director Mercy Owuor wrote a blog in response to her participation in the conference that can also be read on the Girls’ Globe website at http://girlsglobe.org/2013/11/23/3-lessons-for-kenya-from-the-international-conference-on-family-planning/.
We are grateful for the chance to share our lessons on the ground to further access to successful family planning.
Marceline Auma smiles as she holds her newborn baby during a postnatal visit at the Lwala Community Hospital. After her one previous pregnancy, her child succumbed to common childhood diseases and infections soon after birth. But this 23-year-old mother is not worried about the survival of the latest addition to her family because, for the first time, she delivered at a health facility with the help of skilled birth attendants who gave both mother and son full treatment and information to promote health.
Like many mothers in Nyanza, Marceline chose to give birth at the hospital after community health workers visited and educated her on the benefits of skilled delivery. According to Sheila Odongo, a community health worker, the high cost of maternity services and traditional beliefs on childbirth have for a long time limited the number of rural women who deliver at health centers. “Most of them give birth at home with the help of traditional birth attendants who are not equipped to deal with birth complications or provide babies with much needed vaccinations,” Sheila added. This has led to a higher incidence of child and maternal mortality especially in this region.
Economic Development through Agricultural Training
In Lwala, sugar cane is the primary cash crop and often one of the only viable sources of income for young men and women between the ages of 20 and 35. Low supply of sugar cane in the area has increased competition among the distributors, including young women who sometimes struggle to secure even a day’s supply and who often resort to risky sexual behavior to earn a living wage.
“Before we were completely dependent upon jaggery (unrefined sugar) production, which is in decline, but now I can feed my family without the sugar cane.” Beldine, a young mother and wife, is quick to express pride that she contributes to her family’s well-being. With the help of partner Development in Gardening (DIG), Beldine is growing local vegetables to supplement the wages of her husband, a machine operator at the milling site.
Rose, a 31-year-old mother and a wife, also grows vegetables. Her husband struggles to earn livable wages from the sugar cane milling sites to feed their family, but now he hopes to learn more about growing vegetables from his wife. “She is a good teacher,” he says.
Beldine and Rose both married into jugglery production families that are struggling to survive due to decreasing supplies of sugar cane to the millers in the area. Now, they both are members of a farmers group that was implemented by DIG in the Lwala community. They have learned the basic skills in local vegetable production and have received vegetable seeds from DIG through a cost-sharing model.
Lwala Community Alliance’s partnership with DIG aims to empower young men and women through economic and marketplace development. DIG has facilitated access to business skills training, financial literacy, and technical training in organic vegetable production. Both Beldine and Rose are optimistic about their futures. As Beldine says
“I believe I will be successful. I can feed my family and now avoid the abuse found with the sugar cane industry.”