South Sudan Team Bios: Daniel Omondi Obiero- Country Director

Meet Daniel Obiero, our Country Director in South Sudan.

daniel obiero

Daniel Omondi Obiero, BS, Country Director

Nationality: Kenyan

Date of Birth: 2/26/1980

Marital Status: Married with 2 children

Languages: English, Swahili

Daniel is an International Health professional with expertise in implementing and managing public health programs. He has held a number of assignments both locally and internationally, including MERCY USA, UNICEF/MOH and International Rescue Committee (IRC). As the Country Director, he plays an instrumental role in providing overall leadership, strategic direction and operational management and coordination of In-country programs. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Maseno University-Kenya. He Joined KHI in November 2012 as an Emergency Nutrition Manager up to December 2013, Promoted to the post of Country Program director in January 2014 a post he held up to July 2014 after which he was named the Country Director in August 2014.

Hobbies and Interests

Sports-  Watches Soccer and Athletics

Music-  Listens to Country & Gospel Music and Watching Movies.

Reading- Mainly on Community Development and Research Analysis on public health based materials.

Catching up- On Local and International Affairs and participating in Debating and Rational Thought Circles.

Social affairs- Enjoys traveling and making new friends.

 

 

South Sudan Team Bios: Joseph Ogolla Ogani- Nutrition Program Manager

Meet Joseph Ogani, our Nutrition Program Manager in South Sudan.

joseph ogani

Joseph Ogolla Ogani, B.Sc. (FOND), MPH

Nutrition Program Manager

Areas of Expertise: Nutrition, Public Health

Joseph, a Kenyan by birth, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics (B.Sc. FOND) from Egerton University in 2007. After his first degree, he worked for Nakumatt Holdings Ltd in Nairobi from 2007 to 2009 as a Marketing Representative and later as Internal Auditor. He received his first job in the humanitarian sector with Food for the Hungry International (FHI) Kenya as Nutrition Officer from 2009 to 2010 then moved to work in South Sudan as a Nutrition Coordinator at Medical Emergency Relief International (MERLIN).  He has over 5 years of experience in implementing Emergency Nutrition (EN) programs in challenging resource-stricken environments. Through his outstanding interpersonal skills, he has demonstrated adaptability and expertise in working with people from different cultural backgrounds.

In 2012, Joseph proceeded for post graduate studies in Public Health at the James P Grant School of Public Health of BRAC University in Bangladesh after which he joined Kissito Healthcare International (KHI) South Sudan program as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer then currently as Nutrition Program Manager.

Joseph is affiliated to the Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute (KNDI) and the Public Health workforce, Worldwide. He speaks English and Swahili and is learning Arabic. During his free time, he enjoys reading motivational books and swimming.

Workers in the Halaba Special Woreda receive training on child feeding practices

The first 1,000 days of life are critical for healthy development. 52 health workers in the Halaba Special Woreda received training on Infant and Young child feeding practices. The workers learned important skills, such as counseling mothers through breastfeeding and best practices for feeding 6-24-month-old children, in order to help improve these first 1,000 days of life. We can’t wait to see improvements!iycfpic

(Participants providing counseling for a mother at Halaba District Hospital)

Kissito International Solar Suitcase Update

It has been a busy, but successful month for us in Ethiopia!

With 75% of deliveries occurring at night, the Solar Suitcase at the Wejego Yato Health Center has provided light for women to give birth safely. It has also significantly increased the number of women coming to the health center for delivery over the past four months. Thanks to the WE CARE Solar Suitcase, the Wejego Yato Health Center has seen many improvements in birth outcomes and safer deliveries!

ethiopia

Another amazing accomplishment in Ethiopia: The KHI-Ethiopia nutrition project in Halaba Special Woreda helped treat and cure 112 children with severe acute malnutrition in the past month! Health education programs, on topics such as complementary feeding and malaria, also provided 8,170 caretakers information in order to prevent health issues. What a busy and life-saving month!

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Kissito Position on Climate Change

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) have both concluded through independent analysis 2013 was the 4th hottest year on record. In fact, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record globally have occurred since the year 2000. NASA indicates atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 800,000 years having risen from 285 parts per million (“PPM”) in 1880 to over 400 PPM currently. Ocean Temperatures, Sea Levels, and Glacial Records: all indicators which track long-term variation support the absoluteness of a Changing Climate.

Many experts believe the warming of the Polar Regions has led to a shift in the polar vortex causing extreme cold in southern parts of the U.S. and drought in western parts of the Country. Climate Change is expected to worsen over time making it difficult for a consensus response absent a clear and immediate threat.

Climate Change forecasts are difficult to make as we are operating in uncharted waters with an abundance of debate on the cause and effect between carbon dioxide and global warming. As with any serious debate: there will be undisputed facts and actions which are universally agreeable. The warming of the planet is not disputed and most people acknowledge a warmer planet means climate norms will be impacted. These changes will impact people proportionate to their level of development. People in Sub-Saharan Africa will experience food insecurity, malnutrition, and starvation while people in the developed world will experience consumer shortages and cost increases, decreased consumption and economic activity, higher tax rates, and unpredictability in economic and social conditions.

The evidence of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels having an impact on the Earth’s temperature and climate are highly certain, but insufficient to adjust economic and social policy at this time. This will change with the persistence of extreme weather, drought, and rising sea levels in the U.S. and EU. Eventually, complacency will give way to alarm, albeit at a point where mitigation alone will no longer be capable of solving the problem. The evidence is so overwhelming humanity would be negligent to not take those actions available to us today. It is in this spirit, Kissito Healthcare is committed to the following steps, not that these actions on their own will produce any great change, but if they serve as a catalyst or model for others to affect change, then we will have become a part of the solution and not the problem:

1. Work to establish non-formal and formal “Environmental Literacy Plans” for grades K-12 in the Commonwealth of Virginia and all 50 States.
2. Promote our Nation’s State and Local Parks as close to home places to engage in healthy lifestyles and create awareness of environmental issues and opportunities for citizen stewardship of the planet.
3. Place 50,000 acres of at-risk land in conservation with public access to promote forest carbon sequestration.
4. Establish capacity totaling 25 megawatts of biomass power generation to promote carbon emissions reductions.

The Future of Caring For Our Elders

Nursing homes came into existence less as a necessity and more as a result of economic incentives. The construction of nursing homes in the United States skyrocketed after Medicaid benefits came into existence in 1965, coupled with low-interest Federal construction financing. Lumber companies and builders quickly became operators of nursing homes, cashing in on every possible angle in the rush to institutionalize our Elders. Federal and State-funded Medicaid now covers the costs of about 60 percent of all nursing home care in America.
Not all States bought into the perverse incentives which contribute to excessive Elder institutionalization. Arizona was the last state (1982) to offer Medicaid benefits and when they did, Arizona was already implementing a robust Home and Community Based Services program of care for the Elderly. Arizona’s alternatives to nursing homes have paid off for the State and its Elders! An Arizona resident age 65+ is half as likely to end up in a nursing home as a person living in Virginia. Virginia institutionalizes 3.5% of its Elders while only 1.6% percent of those ages 65+ live in Arizona nursing homes.

All of this is about to change in the Old Dominion State. Aging baby boomers will be pleased to know Virginia is one of the leading states in America in promoting Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (“PACE”) which are designed to dramatically reduce the need for nursing homes. PACE allows nursing home qualified participants to live safe and fulfilled lives at home through a network of community support services. Today there is a statewide network of 14 PACE service areas caring for over 1,000 Virginians. Over 25,000 of Virginia’s elders are still in nursing homes, but PACE is positioned to dramatically reduce this number over the coming years. An added benefit: PACE Costs taxpayers significantly less than traditional nursing home care.

The Roanoke Valley’s first PACE center opened last November in Roanoke County, with a five year plan to serve Elders from Bedford to Blacksburg. Kissito PACE expects to employ almost 500 new employees and contractors, each committed to help an expected 800 Elders avoid nursing home placement. The 50-year boom in nursing homes is coming to an end in Virginia, as we focus on improving the quality of life for our Elders while avoiding the high cost of institutional services.

Intervention Sustainability in Lessor Developed Countries by Tom Clarke

Sustainability is an inherent part of all Development Interventions, but more often than not it is merely an afterthought without any real substance or historical successes. Real Sustainability takes Real Household Income to translate into sustainable development interventions. Not dissimilar from the Developed World, people in Lessor Developed Countries must have access to Household Income in order to maintain interventions in Health, Education, Water, Sanitation, and other Development Interventions. Our on-the-ground experience demonstrates people are willing to pay for basic services when Household Income is available. When you are a large Portfolio NGO, you take the $50 Million USAID or DFID Grant, complete your 3-5 year Intervention, and hope for the best. Because Kissito and our close partners are funding our Interventions we constantly focus on Sustainability and generating Real Household Incomes.

Three Kissito initiatives are being designed to employ 31,000+ people in Ethiopia and Uganda and we want these initiatives to serve as Models for creating: JOBS and Economic Activity. Our first and most difficult intervention will engage 10,000 Small and Medium Size (“SME”) farmers in both Ethiopia and in Uganda. Unfortunately, most Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (“RUTF”) are produced in France with Argentinian Peanuts and then air-shipped to African Countries in need. Kissito has invested in RUTF production facilities in Ethiopia and Uganda with the specific intent of creating SME farmer activity and eliminating Toxins from the African peanut supply chain. Difficult…yes… Impossible…Absolutely Not with determination and persistence!

Our Ugandan Improved Cook Stove program is expected to engage 1,000+ people in Stove manufacturing, Maintenance, and Distribution. Kissito and our partners are committed to environmental actions such as Reduce greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (“REDD”) and Climate change Mitigation and Adaptation initiatives which will engage 10,000+ people in South Sudan and Uganda. The creation of Household Income must raise above all other interventions if we really expect anything to be sustainable without continued donor transferred funding.

Brian Center Alleghany Named Among Best in Nation

The Brian Center Alleghany has been named among the top skilled nursing facilities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The Brian Center has received five stars, the highest rating given in the 2014 rankings. The Virginian Review newspaper out of Covington featured The Brian Center on the front cover of the paper today to showcase the honor. The ratings are given based on state-conducted health inspections, how much time nurses spend with their residents and the quality of medical care provided in the facility.

Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund CEO Tom Clarke Receives 2014 A. Willis Robertson Conservation Award

The Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society, the professional society for wildlife biologists in Virginia, recognizes exceptional contributions to wildlife conservation in the Commonwealth by awarding the A. Willis Robertson Award.  The A. Willis Robertson Award is named after the Congressman and Senator from Virginia that cowrote and sponsored the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act that established the funding source for all fish and wildlife agencies and triggered the wildlife biology profession in the 1930’s.

 

The 2014 A. Willis Robertson Award was presented to Tom Clarke, CEO of VCLF, on February 4, 2014 citing the historic transfer of the Natural Bridge property, donation of a conservation easement to protect the property, and establishing a path to transfer the property to become Natural Bridge State Park.  This notable work will protect 1600 acres of habitat, key cave systems, a large portion of Cedar Creek, and the iconic rock formation for which the property and Rockbridge County are named. 

Kissito Helps the Environment in Africa, the U.S., and the World

COVER

Kissito exists for the care and betterment of human life. In Africa, natural resources are so intertwined with health, livelihoods, nutrition and poverty that it became obvious that caring for the health of villagers without addressing the root cause of the problems they face is unsustainable. At the same time, there are environmental challenges and opportunities faced by communities in the United States as well. In 2013, the Kissito leadership endeavored to add a new strategy to meet the mission, by engaging in natural resource projects in the United States that could generate resources to apply to our philanthropic work in Africa and elsewhere.

This past summer Kissito began pilot natural resource projects in Africa focused on the common use of crude “three-stone” stoves that are still used for most cooking. These stoves are commonly used indoors where indoor air quality problems result in respiratory and eye infections. Kissito began a pilot project to place higher efficiency improved cookstoves in households in Uganda to reduce the incidence of stove-caused diseases, and since improved cookstoves use half the fuel of a traditional stove, the households that use the improved stoves save considerable expense. Reduced use of fuel also reduces the pressure on surrounding forests to provide wood or charcoal. To further extend the benefits, Kissito also began four small pilot tree planting efforts in Uganda to learn more about the logistical process of acquiring, managing, and conducting tree planting efforts with private landowners. The combination of increasing tree planting and reducing fuel use can drastically increase the amount of time available to households for food production and preparation.

One of the most vexing problems of rural Africa is a lack of clean drinking water. In the summer of 2013, Kissito partnered with faculty and students from the Virginia Military Institute to test the installation of household-scale sand filters designed for that purpose using locally available PVC and water containers. Several systems were installed with local labor in Bushyii village in Uganda, and the team will return in the spring of 2014 to evaluate the installations, make necessary modifications, and add several dozen new units. Training of the villagers will be conducted for both construction and maintenance of the units.

The largest long-term challenge for rural villagers in Africa is the current and expected change in rainfall patterns resulting from climate change. These changes in planting dates and rainfall amounts are already resulting in widespread famine. Improved cookstoves and tree planting mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. In the United States, Kissito has spun off a new nonprofit unit called the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund that will pursue projects that meet the Kissito mission while generating resources for our international work. Projects to date have focused on utilizing land for carbon sequestration by creating a new wildlife management area in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Future projects will include converting facilities to renewable biomass heating to cut energy costs in half and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. By documenting and registering these benefits with the California Air Resources Board, a source of revenue can be tapped that pays for the projects and generates excess revenue for other projects.

-Jeff Waldon, Chief Environmental Programs Officer