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Health eVillages update: Expanding a rural hospital in Kenya

As you may know, I am a member of the advisory board of Health eVillages. Every so often, the organization does something extraordinary, and I want to share one of those moments here. Actually, I want to share two.

In December, Health eVillages Founder Donato Tramuto, CEO of Physicians Interactive, won a tremendous honor, a 2014 RFK Ripple of Hope Award, from the newly renamed Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization. (The other three honorees were three nobodies named Robert De Niro, Tony Bennett and Hillary Clinton.)

Today, Health eVillages released this bit of news:

Health eVillages Raises Funds to Expand Rural Hospital in Kenya

New wing will help Lwala Community Alliance (LCA) to further reduce infant and maternal mortality rates

READING, MA – (January 27, 2015) -Health eVillages, a program of the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and Physicians Interactive, announced today that construction has started on a new wing to expand the first hospital in Lwala, Kenya, as well as housing for clinicians and their families.

The announcement, made by Health eVillages Founder Donato Tramuto, builds on the success of a partnership with Lwala Community Alliance (LCA), a local health and development organization.

“In just four years, the early infant mortality rate has been cut almost by half in our area,” said James Nardella, LCA’s Executive Director. “With the help of partners like Health eVillages, skilled delivery rates have rapidly increased. In 2010, only 26% of births were attended by a trained nurse. That has risen to 96% with the wonderful assistance of Health eVillages.”

He continued, “The expansion of our maternal health facilities and housing for our clinicians and their families will immediately improve the outcomes for more Lwala mothers and their babies, while creating local employment opportunities for Kenyan nurses and other clinical professionals for years to come.”

The rapid expansion was made possible by the success of Health eVillages’ partnerships and the financial support of nearly 100 private donors, including Physicians Interactive.

When it is completed, the 1,500-square-foot wing will add 12 beds to the rural hospital, two exam rooms for outpatient visits, full separation of the well-child visit area from sick-patient areas, and separate men’s and women’s in-patient wards. The wing will also offer new laboratory space with specialized rooms for blood drawing, sterilization and microbiology, as well as a new space for HIV client counseling.

Health eVillages also is adding eight housing units with more than 6,000 square feet of living space, so LCA’s clinical staff can be immediately available on-site during emergency care situations.

The majority of the caregivers at the hospital are with the LCA, a Health eVillages partner whose mission is to advance the health and well-being of people living in the rural region in Western Kenya. Founded by Milton and Fred Ochieng’, US-trained physicians who are natives of Lwala, the Alliance’s first major project was the completion of the Erastus Ochieng’ Memorial Lwala Community Hospital. Initially conceived as a facility to treat HIV/AIDS patients, over time the hospital has expanded to include multiple public health services, including services to pregnant women.

The LCA’s community health workers recruit and enroll women of reproductive age in Migori County through its Safe Babies program to participate in the entire continuum of prenatal, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare services. Health eVillages currently helps fund prenatal and postnatal immunizations as part of the program. It also provides mobile handheld devices (from Physicians Interactive) to the LCA’s 80+ community health workers and the hospital’s clinical staff, as they work to improve primary and preventive healthcare throughout the region.

“It is incredibly gratifying to watch this successful facility grow, knowing that the additional space will give more babies in Lwala a healthy start to life, which every mother in the world wants for her child,” said Tramuto, who is also the Chairman and CEO of Physicians Interactive and the recipient of the 2014 RFK Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award. “It is a testament to the LCA’s hard-working caregivers that the demand for their services is only increasing as families throughout Migori County witness the significant decline in infant and maternity mortality rates in their community.”

About Health eVillages

Health eVillages, a program of the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and Physicians Interactive, provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision-support resources to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. For more information about Health eVillages, please visit http://www.healthevillages.org/. 

About Physicians Interactive

Headquartered in Reading, MA, PI aspires to use the power of worldwide networks of healthcare professionals and life sciences companies, together, in ways that will change the practice and business of medicine for the better. PI’s value proposition is to offer the life science industry a low-cost, virtual, multichannel marketing approach that can be used to supplement currently promoted products, as well as non-promoted and orphaned products, that deliver benefits to physicians and patients. A key focus is providing services that fit into physicians’ and healthcare professionals’ daily workflow at the point-of-care, when they make diagnosis, treatment, and prescribing decisions. More information can be found at www.PhysiciansInteractive.com.

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It’s more proof that mobile devices can have a positive effect on health pretty much anywhere in the world.

 

 

January 27, 2015 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Great news from Health eVillages

As a board member of Health eVillages, I’m proud to share this video from rural Lwala, Kenya, where clinicians and other health workers are harnessing the power of mobile technology to deliver better care and, for some people, the first real healthcare they have ever had. This video, from from when Health eVillages Co-Founder Donato Trumato and Program Manager Matt Linder trekked to Lwala in October, shows how mobile health is helping local women deliver healthy babies.

Subsequent to this trip, the Lwala Community Alliance highlighted the work of Health eVillages here. Then, at a Health eVillages board meeting in December, Trumato issued a challenge to raise $150,000 to construct a dedicated maternity ward at the hospital in Lwala by year’s end. Physicians Interactive, of which Trumato is CEO, pledged half that total, and then others far wealthier than I stepped up and helped Trumato met the goal by Dec. 26. Operating funds are still necessary, and Health eVillages (or “Heal the Villages,” as one partner has pointed out) wants to help more people, including some at a site in rural Louisiana.

Since 2012, Health eVillages has helped the Lwala Community Alliance cut early infant mortality in half (from 60 per 1,000 births to 31 per 1,000). However, the Lwala still area happens to have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in all of Kenya, so education, care and prevention are critical. Here’s an overview on the Health eVillages-Lwala Community Alliance partnership (.pdf). To donate, visit http://lwalacommunityalliance.org/donate/.

Thanks, and stay tuned for more updates.

January 26, 2014 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Health eVillages and mobile health in the developing world

I’m in New York today for a Health eVillages board meeting. It’s a program that provides mobile health tools to help extend the reach and knowledge of health workers in remote and underserved parts of the world — including in rural Southern Louisiana. The meeting opened with this powerful video that explains the power of this program.

I can’t say anything more about Health eVillages now, but there is some big news coming this summer.

April 30, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.