NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 29, 2014) - In less than five years, the percent of pregnant women delivering in a health facility in a remote region of western Kenya has skyrocketed from 26% to 96%, resulting in a 50% reduction of neonatal mortality in the community compared to the region at large. This achievement is due to Lwala Community Alliance's Commitment to Action to maternal and child health made at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting with the support of its primary supporter Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). This week, Dr. Milton Ochieng', Lwala Community Alliance's co-founder, returns to the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting to celebrate the fulfillment of "Safe Motherhood" and to announce a new commitment in partnership with RMHC -- this time to cut under-5 mortality in half by the end of 2016.
The 2009 Commitment to Action, titled "Safe Motherhood," aimed to enhance the quality and extend the reach of maternal and child health services in Lwala, Kenya. Now the new initiative, called "Thrive thru 5," will extend the success of Lwala Community Alliance's maternal and child health program to ensure that (1) 98% of pregnant women access prenatal care and deliver in a health facility, (2) 100% of newborns receive care after delivery, (3) 90% of children under 12 months are fully immunized, (4) 7,000 children under 5 have access to affordable primary care, and (5) local health workers are leading the effort.
"While we've cut neonatal mortality by half, it is still painful to imagine that somewhere in Lwala a parent who was just as happy as I was when my daughter was born, will lose his or her bundle of joy within the next 30 days," Dr. Ochieng' said. "We cannot settle for this sad state of affairs. We must continue to work on reducing infant mortality in Lwala and the surrounding region."
Ronald McDonald House Charities first provided support to Lwala for the "Safe Motherhood" initiative in 2009 through its Global Grants program which is dedicated to working with non-profit organizations serving the needs of children to extend its reach and move donation dollars to areas which need it most around the world. Now RMHC is once again investing in Lwala's work, committing funding over a three-year period beginning in 2014 to support the new "Thrive thru 5" effort.
"The impact of Lwala Community Alliance's work on the ground has been phenomenal," said J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, president and CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities. "As a frontline health care provider, they have dramatically increased the rate of skilled deliveries over the last five years, which has effectively led to a reduction in early infant mortality. RMHC has seen the profound impact on children and their families firsthand and is excited about our current investment in Lwala's work to ensure children not only are born safely, but stay healthy through the first five years of life."
About Lwala Community Alliance
Lwala Community Alliance is a nonprofit health and development organization delivering services to 20,000 people in western Kenya. The center of the project is the Lwala Community Hospital, which provides primary care, maternity services, and HIV treatment. The Kenyan-founded organization also runs community development programs in education and economic empowerment to support people in the region more comprehensively. Lwala's work has been featured by the Clinton Global Initiative, Apple, NPR, ABC World News, CNN, and in the documentary "Sons of Lwala."
Lwala works with a diverse group of partners including the Kenyan government, USAID, Johnson & Johnson, Population Council, Segal Family Foundation, Real Medicine Foundation, Blood:Water Mission, Together for Girls, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center. In the United States, the organization is closely affiliated with Vanderbilt University. For more information, visit LwalaCommunityAlliance.org.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Through its global network of 300 Chapters in more 58 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, the Ronald McDonald Family Room® and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and vital resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs provide access to quality health care and give children and families the time they need to heal and cope better together.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.