J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, president and CEO of RMHC, traveled to Kenya to see first-hand how grants invested in the Lwala Community Alliance through the RMHC Global Grants program have helped impact children and families served in the Lwala, Kenya community. The program, supported by funds from RMHC, aims to decrease infant and mother mortality rates in this rural community, where the prevalence of HIV is three times the national average in that country.

During the visit, Lwala Community Alliance launched the Thrive thru  5 initiative, which is designed to cut the under-5 mortality rate for children in half by the end of 2016. This program helps to ensure that babies are born safely and extends clinical services and community outreach efforts so growing children are protected from the most common regional threats of mortality including malaria, HIV, diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, injury, and malnutrition. 

Watch video of J.C.'s recent visit.  
The impact on children and families in the Lwala community

  • Since the first RMHC Global Grant was awarded to the Lwala Community Alliance in, neonatal mortality in the area has been reduced by 50 percent.
  • 96 percent of pregnant women now deliver with a skilled attendant present, compared to 26 percent in 2010.
  • 100 percent of babies now receive postnatal care within the first seven days after delivery.
  • Through the Healthy Neighbor project, RMHC provided funding for a mobile health unit and trained community members to deliver education in home-based life-saving skills.
  • Through the Safe Babies project, RMHC provided funding that established a rapid transport network for women in labor, with an ambulance and two motorcycles.
  • More than 80 community health workers have been trained and deployed.
  • More than 1,600 households have been reached so far, and Thrive thru 5 is projected to double this number.

(Photo and video courtesy of Lwala Community Alliance)
“Lwala is a very special place and RMHC is proud to be a partner there in this initiative. Because of the RMHC Global Grant program, some 17,000 Kenyan children have already been served, and that number increases every day.” – J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez