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Kenya: Hope for Lwala

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Kenya is suffering a unique healthcare crisis. While it trains hundreds of doctors a year, most leave for better-paying jobs in other countries. The problem has left millions with no one to care for them in Kenya. In one village, help is on the way from the most unexpected of places. [Sights and sounds of Kenyan children playing.] >>I think Milton is really doing this as a memorial, in a way, to his parents, [Birds chirping.] >>I think it is a catharsis for Milton. Hope for Lwala, A film by Barry Simmons, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting >>He has a mission to complete what his dad envisioned, and live that dream that his father had. [Unique-sounding alarm clock chiming away.] [Faucet running] My name is Milton Oludhe Ochieng. I'm a second year medical student at Vanderbilt. [Hospital elevator tones] I'm the first person from my village to ever go outside Kenya. Everyone in my village was really proud. They raised nine hundred US dollars to buy my plane ticket to come to the US. They said, "Don't forget us, you know -- whatever it is -- however good things are there. Make sure you come back!" >>How bad is HIV here? There are over one hundred people in this village who are infected. Over one hundred. [Screams of agony and people crying] Yeah, they still cry. You can hear. The woman passed away some forty-five minutes ago. [Women crying] [Sigh] Yeah, they do happen. You have to understand, they do happen. [Reads from paper] Daddy, we loved you but God loved you more than we did. We loved your advice, stories, and presence. Dad we really loved you, we miss you big. I couldn't be there for my Dad when I would have wanted to be there for him. They say things happen for a reason, but that's just the way it is. The more that I'm exposed to western medicine, the more I feel the urge to bring something to the people in Lwala, give them something also. Lwala Community Clinic is a project that my father and I started. My father passed away from AIDS in 2005, about a week before we had the ground-breaking ceremony. [Sounds of hammering and sawing] Wow! It's very impressive. We decided we were going to name it Elastes Ochieng Memorial Health Center, in memory of my Dad. [Man on TV] When you ripple a snake, you must prepare to be bitten. The corruption undermines everything. It's there in the clinics which haven't been built, the hospitals which aren't there. If you look at the salaries of the members of Parliment already-- so huge--and nobody would think about it. And then you ask yourself, "Why are you getting all that money when people are dying?" "These are your constituents! They are dying!" [Sounds of banging on door] We thought the clinic was going to open in June, we thought it was going to open in August, We're hoping maybe it might open in the spring now. If there was a time for him to be able to be focused on this in Lawala, this would be the crucial time. One of the reasons why we haven't opened the clinic is, there's no money. You know, and even the little that we have--if we were to open it now-- you could function for like a month, and then lock it again. What's the point. [Announcer] Tonight, it really is about this community in Lwala. [announcer] You have a chance to make a difference. [Young girl] Thank you! [♪Group singing Happy Birthday♪] [Boy reading] You are invited to a sleepover birthday party. I don't want any presents, so if you want, you can make a donation to Lwala Community Clinic Kenya. >>Hello! >>Hey, good morning! >>How are you? Good to see you! >>Good to see you! CARRY OUT ORDERS HERE Because of his vision, in his brain, within 5 years those people are not going to die. STUDENT LIFE CENTER WELCOME LWALA [♪Jazzy music playing♪] You're going to be after Emily. We're all the models, we're all Vanderbilt students. So we're all walking tonight. >>Two of my best friends, we got together and designed this line specifically for Lwala. "Lwala Wear", we kind of call it under our breath. You all look fabulous--the clothes are great--and this is for a very, very good thing. [Sounds of cheering and clapping] Alright! Alright! [Sounds of laughter] You know, these guys have worked so hard, and they're doing such a good job, and the fact that there's actually going to be an opening for a clinic is pretty unbelievable. To all the people who've been a part of helping start the clinic: Cheers! [Sounds of laughter and others saying "Cheers"] I'd like to also remember my late parents. Their death was for a reason, I believe. [Sounds of drums playing and people singing] I imagine if he could have been here, then he could say that, "You've made my dream to come true." [Slaps forehead] Oh, man. We need drugs. Ohhhhh. [Man telling others where to go] There's so many people outside, and it's just very scary. What happens when the lines are hundreds of people long and they're out of drugs? Will they be able to deliver what the community is expecting? [Giving speech] Seeing patients who ordinarily here in the US. . . >>Yes, we got the clinic open, but man, I don't want to think of myself as having finished the job. It is just the beginning. [Sounds of children playing] I tell you, look for Lwala in 5 to 10 years, and you'll see a big difference. Just to end -- just remember -- do not go where the path may lead. . . go instead where there's no path, and leave a trail. I wish you all the best. [Birds chirping] [♪Jazzy-tribal sounding music playing♪] WITH FAREED ZAKARIA IS THE DOCTOR IN? Africa has 1.4 health workers per 1,000 people, compared with 9.9 per 1,000 in North America Source: Health Organization The total cost of educating a single Kenyan doctor from primary school to university is $65,997 (USD) For every doctor who emigrates, Kenya loses about $517,931 (USD) worth of returns from investment WITH FAREED ZAKARIA Barry Simmons: Producer Iain Montgomery: Photographer Mike Rose: Photographer Jerry Walker: Editor Kathy Conkwright: Consulting Producer Produced in association with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria is a production of Azimuth Media For more information visit:

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Director: Barry Simmons
Views: 129
Posted by: pulitzercenter on Apr 25, 2008

As featured on Foreign Exchange. Kenya is suffering a unique health care crisis. While it trains hundred of doctors a year, most leave for better-paying jobs in other countries. The problem has left millions with no one to care for them in Kenya. In one village, help is on the way from the most unexpected of places. For more information, visit

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