Their work fulfilled the dream of two beloved community leaders, Margaret and Erastus Ochieng’. They were kind and generous neighbors who helped orphaned children with school fees, invited hungry families to share a meal, and seeded a vision for a hospital in their village–all while raising six children of their own. Tragically, they died of HIV because of a broken health system that wasn’t designed to reach them. Out of this grief, their community–alongside two of their sons, Milton and Fred–created something new, a way to ensure that all of their neighbors could access health care.
Over time, one hospital in one community has grown into a full-scale movement for community-led health–a movement poised to transform Kenya’s health system.
“While visiting the hospital, I helped deliver a baby girl who was in respiratory distress shortly after birth. The mother looked me and asked, ‘Is she going to live, or should I call my husband and the rest of the family and tell them to prepare for a funeral?’ I fought back tears, thinking of my own two girls. This mother deserved to bring back a bundle of joy to her family. We worked feverishly to resuscitate this baby, suctioning her little nostrils and giving her supplemental oxygen. As the life-giving oxygen flew into her precious lungs, her heart rate increased. A decade ago, she would have perished – but because she is now part of our over 97% of babies being delivered under the care of a skilled attendant, she lived.”
– Milton Ochieng’, Co-Founder of Lwala Community Alliance