Grant will Fund A Comprehensive Nutrition Program
At a March 31st gala celebrating 10 years since the founding of the Lwala Community Alliance (Lwala), a Nashville-based organization serving rural communities of western Kenya, Health eVillages (HeV) and Tramuto Foundation founder Donato J. Tramuto announced the creation of a five-year grant to fund a comprehensive nutrition program aimed at reducing childhood death rates in Lwala, Kenya. The five-year, $500,000 grant announced on March 31 marks the continuation of a partnership between Lwala, HeV and the Tramuto Foundation.
Health eVillages, a non-profit organization that has provided free, state-of-the-art medical mobile technology to the most remote areas of the world since 2011, has partnered with Lwala for the past five years. In that time, HeV has supplied Lwala’s Community Hospital with more than 50 mobile devices to bolster its ‘Safe Babies Program’, which has resulted in twice the number of facility deliveries. In addition, HeV assisted in the expansion of the community hospital that added new in-patient and exam space as well as critically needed staff housing. An Internet tower, partially funded by HeV, was constructed to bring wireless connection to the entire hospital and a new vehicle was purchased in order to reach patients in the most remote communities.
“Health eVillages has partnered with us as we’ve built a community-led model of healthcare that works,” said Ash Rogers, Lwala Executive Director. “They’ve leveraged their experience, technology and resources and together we’ve cut under-5 mortality to 64 percent of the regional average. Now, we are doubling down on our approach, tackling a key cause of child death: chronic malnutrition.”
Lwala works in an epicenter of poor health outcomes for children. Core to the model is a cadre of former traditional midwives who are trained, supervised, and paid as community health workers. In partnership with HeV, Lwala has enrolled nearly 10,000 mothers and children in community-led care, doubling the number of children enrolled in the past 24 months. Together, they have achieved a 94% immunization rate and have cut under-5 deaths to 64% of the regional average (29.5 deaths per 1,000, compared to 82). Now, the Tramuto Foundation, HeV, and Lwala are teaming up to go deeper.
Tramuto created the foundation in memory of his two close friends and their young son who perished aboard the second flight that flew into the World Trade Tower in New York City on September 11, 2001. For the past 15 years, the Tramuto Foundation has provided grants and scholarships to a number of healthcare and educational organizations and students. The Health eVillages/Tramuto Foundation Nutrition Initiative will be the first combined, multi-year grant from Tramuto’s two non-profits.
“During my visits to Lwala, I have personally witnessed the impact Health eVillages has made arming community health workers with the mobile medical technology they need to care for and save the lives of pregnant women, infants and children,” Tramuto, who also serves as CEO of Nashville-based Tivity Health, said. “But I also know that in this region of Kenya the infant mortality rate is still too high, the death rate for children under the age of five is 12 times the US average, and the maternal death rate is two times the national average. Simply said, more must be done. It is my hope that over the next five years, the Health eVillages Tramuto Foundation Nutrition Initiative, in partnership with Lwala Community Alliance, will provide the funding so desperately needed to combat acute and chronic malnutrition. Our goal is to bring the maternal, child and infant death rates to zero.”
The grant will support the enrollment of 7,000 children and 2,000 families in a community-led initiative that will include the training of community health workers who will follow up each day after a child’s hospitalization in a specialized ‘nutrition unit’ at the Lwala Community Hospital. Families will be provided with nutrition training, gardening training, regular nutrition and malnutrition screenings for family members, breastfeeding training, nutrition education, and distribution of vitamins.
“Health eVillages and the Tramuto Foundation are rare partners,” Rogers added. “They leverage not only their resources, but also their expertise and technology. Their investments aren’t one-off injections, but long-term accompaniment. This type of collaboration is what is needed to move the needle on health outcomes globally. Health eVillages and the Tramuto Foundation’s five-year investment is long-term and visionary and will ensure we see this strategy through.”
About Lwala Community Alliance
Lwala Community Alliance is a community-led innovator operating in rural western Kenya. Lwala partners with communities to source, measure, and share bottom-up innovations. As a Vanderbilt-affiliated organization, Lwala is building an evidence base proving that local solutions are uniquely positioned to transform health systems. We are in an all-out effort to cut maternal and child moralities, and are on an ambitious path to reach 1 million people.
Health eVillages collaborates to advance healthcare access and improve quality of care by providing state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision-support tools, as well as other resources, to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. Our partners include Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Seed Global Health, Global Impact, WelVU, Aptus Health, Healthways, Sharecare and more. You can find more information at http://www.healthevillages.org/ and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.