Brothers’ efforts in Lwala honored by the Peace CorpsSep. 13, 2012, 9:10 AM
The Peace Corps has selected Milton and Fred Ochieng’ as this year’s recipients of their annual Director’s Award.
The brothers, who are Vanderbilt University School of Medicine graduates and founders of the non-profit Lwala Community Alliance in Africa, will receive the award as part of the Peace Corps’ Franklin H. Williams Award ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20.
The Lwala Community Alliance was an effort by the Ochiengs to honor the dream of their deceased father to build a hospital in their rural Kenyan village. That dream became a reality, and the Lwala Community Alliance has since expanded community and health care services, including purchasing the area’s first ambulance and constructing a maternity wing at the hospital site.
“Milton and I are honored and humbled for this wonderful recognition from the Peace Corps,” said Fred Ochieng, M.D., a Medicine/Pediatrics resident at Vanderbilt. “We hope that through this award, our story of perseverance and hope can reach more people and inspire them to give back to their communities.
“When our parents died of HIV and AIDS almost eight years ago, they had no access to antiretrovirals. Now thanks to our Lwala Community Hospital with 15 inpatient beds, more than 1,000 patients are on antiretrovirals, and more than 100,000 total patient encounters have been registered (at more than 20,000 patient visits each year), with clinical services provided in maternal and child health, HIV care and primary care,” Ochieng said.
The Peace Corps said in a letter to the brothers that they recognize and appreciate their successful efforts to engage Kenyan and U.S. communities in providing access to primary care through the establishment of the Lwala Community Hospital, and hoped the recognition would serve to allow the brothers to engage a new generation of returned Peace Corps volunteers and current undergraduates to give back to the global community.
Milton Ochieng, M.D., is in a post-residency fellowship in gastroenterology at Brown University.
The brothers continue fundraising through the Lwala Community Alliance. For more information about the alliance, go to www.LwalaCommunityAlliance.org.