One bucket at a time  pg. 4

Village masons put up a wall to the first clinic building. Ochieng' planned to name the clinic for his late father, Erastus, a high school chemistry teacher who encouraged his son's audacious dream.
Photos courtesy of Milton Ochieng'
“I’m seeing more students who want to enter the global health field for the long-term,” adds Peter Wright, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases who leads the international health emphasis focus area. “In fact, it was the students who initiated the international health component… This wasn’t something we envisioned.”

For his Emphasis project, Ochieng’ wants to establish a rural health clinic that will provide sustainable, accessible and affordable healthcare to the villagers of Lwala and surrounding area. He hopes the clinic will be able to offer other services such as HIV/AIDS education programs, tuition assistance for secondary schooling, and physical infrastructure development.

“One of the things we want to do once the clinic is up and running,” he says, “is to conduct voluntary counseling and testing to find out what the exact HIV prevalence is for Lwala, and how to get the message out for prevention and treatment.”

When Ochieng’ presented his proposal to his village, the entire community responded enthusiastically. A council comprised of 21 elders was formed to oversee activities related to the clinic’s construction and funding. Several families offered to donate land.

The local soccer club, along with Ochieng’ and his brothers, dredged sand from the nearby river – one bucket at a time – for foundation sand and mortar. Bricks were manufactured locally, and rocks that serve as a foundation base were collected by locals and hauled to the site using ox-drawn carts.

Ochieng’s plan calls for a three-phased construction. A building that houses a dispensary, laundry and patient treatment rooms has already been completed. Phase II will include a maternal child healthcare center and doctor’s office. A building that houses separate wards for men, women, and children will complete Phase III.

While drumming up support for the clinic, Ochieng’ was referred to Mark Dalhouse, Ph.D., who directs the Vanderbilt Office of Active Citizenship and Service.

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