The original Chwele Dispensary was built in 1948 by Quaker missionaries.
Located on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in Western Kenya near the Uganda border, Chwele-Namwela, the home of Grace Kuto, is a rural community which provides social services for a catchment area of nearly 60,000 in population.This region of Kenya, along with the bulk of sub-Saharan Africa, faces a range of troubling health and economic development issues. According to the United Nations Population Division statistics, the life expectancy in Kenya currently averages less than 55 years, and in 2007 carried an HIV prevalence rate of roughly 6%percent. These health indicators, coupled with harsh demographic realities – 43% percent of the population is under the age of 14 – translate to an acute need for effective, preventive community health care, health education, and economic development.
Since 1994, Grace Kuto has pulled together partners in sustainable development in Chwele, Kenya, Tigard Community Friends Church, Women’s Forum of the World Affairs Council, and other partners in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1995 Grace Kuto wrote Harambee! Stories & Recipes from the African Family Circle. The first edition of this book partially contributed to the cost ($50,000) to build the new Chwele Health Clinic. Through these ongoing stories of successful partnerships, Chwele Health Clinic was built in 1999 and now provides emergency, preventive, and primary care services for malaria, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, family planning, childhood immunizations, respiratory and water-borne diseases.The clinic was built in 1999, and today serves nearly 6,000 people near the Mt Elgon area in Western Kenya.
The new clinic has been in operation under the administration of Lugulu Friends Mission Hospital since the year 2000. It is preparing to be independent from Lugulu Hospital in 2016. It serves a catchment area of close to 60,000 people of Chwele community and the surrounding areas of the slopes of Mt. Elgon. It provides healthcare services for a fee, there self-sustainable. It is open 24 hours a day responding to emergency, preventative, and primary health care needs which include:
- Public Health education
- Childhood immunizations
- Maternal health
- Respiratory and waterborne diseases including typhoid and cholera.
- Dental Health (2014)
The impact of this clinic has been HUGE. So many lives have been saved through the services listed above. Through UN mosquito net campaigns and support like ours, malaria incidences have been reduced by at least 40% since 1998. HIV/AIDS patients have had access to antiviral medications for more than 10 years which has tremendously improved the quality of their health. However, pregnant women and very ill patients who live too far from the clinic have limited or no access to the clinic due to lack of transportation. This challenge still contributes to premature death to the unborn, mothers, children, and the elderly. There is a great need for an ambulance!
To find out more about our projects in Chwele, Kenya, please visit our sister website – chwelekenya.org