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Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013, 9:01 AM
Vanderbilt University physicians are invited to attend a luncheon briefing Monday, June 24, on the Lwala Community Alliance, established in 2007 by Vanderbilt-trained doctors Fred and Milton Ochieng’ to bring medical services to their rural village in Kenya.
Fred Ochieng’, M.D., a third-year resident in Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, will lead the briefing, which begins at noon in the Eskind Biomedical Library Executive Board Room. His older brother, Milton, is in his third year of a gastroenterology fellowship at Brown University.
In 2002, the Ochieng’ brothers’ idea of opening a medical clinic in Lwala was a pipedream consisting of lines drawn on scraps of paper.
While they worked on their Vanderbilt medical degrees, they spent their spare time raising funds for the newly formed alliance and flying home to help build a clinic from the ground up.
With grit, determination and some helping hands, their dream became a reality when the first wing of the clinic opened six years ago. Fast-forward to the present, and those line drawings have blossomed into a full-blown community hospital that has exceeded everyone’s expectations.
With the help of the Vanderbilt community, Lwala opened a new maternal health wing in 2011, tripling the infrastructure of the original clinic footprint with dedicated space for labor, delivery, postnatal care, 12 inpatient beds and four private consultation rooms.
“Patient traffic has increased by 137 percent, from an average of 1,200 patients per month to an average of 2,843,” Ochieng’ noted. About 1,000 people are being treated for HIV/AIDS.
In addition to health care, the Lwala Community Alliance has developed effective education, economic development and public health outreach programs.
Through the clinic’s Safe Babies maternal and child health outreach program, teams of Community Health Workers enroll pregnant women into the entire continuum of maternal, neonatal, and child health care. So far the program has reached more than 900 expectant and new mothers.
Aided by a new ambulance and two outreach motorcycles, the program has increased the percentage of area women delivering their babies in a health facility from 26 percent to 95 percent in the year since it was established.
“The Alliance is still growing,” Ochieng’ said. “The biggest needs right now include a new hospital wing to house pediatric inpatient beds, a new laboratory and a records department.”
To RSVP or for more information, contact Katherine Falk, development and communications coordinator of the Lwala Community Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— by Stephen Doster and Katherine Falk
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