March 2nd, 2012
04:47 PM ET

Dan Ogola: Creating wealth through health

By Dan Ogola, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Dan Ogola is the founder and director of the Matibabu Foundation, a organization in Eastern Africa creating jobs and opportunity through healthcare. Founded in 2006, Matibabu has offered health services to over 60,000 Kenyans. It recently opened the community’s first hospital, a state-of-the art facility drawing new businesses to one of the country’s poorest regions. Ogola will be featured on CNN’s The Next List this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

(CNN) - I was born 35 years ago in Ugenya, Kenya, as the fifth of eight children. My brother passed on when he was two months old as a result of malaria. He was not taken to hospital but instead anointed with oil by a priest to “cure” him. Our third born was disabled due to polio, and hidden in the house due to the stigma, and could not attend school. My father died when I was 19 years old leaving my mother to take care of us.

My mother, Patricia Ogola, was an uneducated housewife married at the age of 15, and because of the many children she had, she struggled to make ends meet by brewing the local traditional brew. This led to a lot of run-ins with the local policemen who demanded bribes for her to continue making the illicit brew, driving the family into further poverty.

Due to the difficulties in Ugenya for our family, my brothers and I left for Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, to try and do odd jobs in order to support ourselves and the family back at home.

My mother’s case is a typical case of women in Ugenya. Many were married young and had several children as they were uneducated and did not have access to family planning. Many were also widowed because of HIV/AIDS thus increasing their poverty levels as they were unemployed. Many others also died while giving birth due to inaccessibility of health facilities. Many children also suffered the fate of my brothers.

Women and children in Ugenya need to lead healthy, productive, and prosperous lives.

I founded the Matibabu Foundation, which aims to create jobs and opportunity by promoting better access to healthcare services.

Through my initiative and partnership with Dr. Gail Wagner, Dr. Amanda Schoenberg, Dr. Ram Ramachandra, and other American medical personnel, my community has had access to specialized health care. Also the elites (professionals and business people) of Ugenya living in urban areas and the diaspora, have been convinced to give back to the community.

Because of the good relationship I have cultivated with the Government, the community has benefited tremendously through the Matibabu-government partnership that has provided surgical services as well as HIV/AIDS services.

I also have convinced the local corporate giants like Kenya's leading bank, KCB to exercise their social responsibility to serve the community. The University of Nairobi, Bondo University College, and Great Lakes University, three of Kenya's top colleges, have all expressed interest in partnering with us.

The results have been numerous. Here are a few ways the foundation is helping:

- Health: Matibabu foundation clinics and partnerships with ICAP to strengthen health systems in Government facilities.

- Education: Seed Academy in Nairobi’s Kibera slums and Lifunga Girls secondary school in Ugenya which addresses at risk girls.

- Poverty Alleviation: The Zuia vocational training for girls and women to equip them with embroidery, tailoring, and computer skills. Community empowerment through Youth Friendly Centers that provide sexual and reproductive health education, as well as income generating activities. Build capacity of women through adult literacy and numeracy classes, entrepreneurship, leadership, and best practices in food security at the smart center- a facility begun in the rural Ugenya that helps women succeed in life.

- Nutrition: We are working with AMREF to improve food security of OVC’s in Ugenya in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture.

In the future, I see myself connecting people countywide and countrywide in dealing with determinants of poor health such as poor education and poverty.

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Filed under: Social change • The Next List • Video • World
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. mideast wellness

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    April 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  2. Nena

    What an inspirational story. We are trying to do the same type of work for my village in Nigeria. Hope to contact you in the future.

    April 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  3. Boshbosh

    Ragazzi ma state parlando senza cgonizione di causa, ormai il gioco completo e verr rilasciato in europa il 19 di questo mese e se volete dei video andate su youtube. Un gioco per essere rilasciato in Europa dev'essere pur per forza multi5.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  4. Anne

    Thankyou sir jaha rahepani hami gnhudrake gnhudrake nai hau . yo manma ghandruko maya bairahnchha .aja yo jun bata ghandruk ko naya samachar padna pauda hami dirai khusi lagiraheko chhau . sir audha din haro ma pani abasya pani naya naya sachar padna paune asa gardachau ra antama gaun lagi kehi sahayog ma hami pani prayes gardchhu GHANDRUK SAMAJ HK

    March 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  5. Wahu

    A truly inspirational story of putting others before self.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  6. OWN

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    March 16, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
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    March 12, 2012 at 3:44 am | Reply
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    March 10, 2012 at 2:34 am | Reply
    • Lisa

      That is a huge compliment! They are one of my viaorfte magazines. Hope it brings a great new crop of simple-living, creative and hip gardeners your way.

      March 18, 2012 at 5:55 am | Reply
  9. RG

    Just watched this on CNN. Dan is an example of the kind of leaders we need. How can I view the entire the program on I want to share this with others in my Global Health class.

    March 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Josephat Nyamwaya

      Thanks RG for your kind comments. Hope you get the video of the entire program. Why not share with your class the Matibabu Foundation Volunteer Program, too? Guess, so many will be interested. You can reach Dan on or for more information on this programme

      March 5, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
  10. alexa

    Thank you cnn for sheading light on such an inspirational story. Please keep up the good work in finding such REAL Heroes in this world. Had it not been for you we would never have found out about how one persone(dan) against all odds, and I MEAN ALL ODDS managed to make a REAL diffenrence in so many peoples lives. Now, I will find a was to help and support Dans cause. I will find a way to send containers of assistance to his region. I will start an organization here for people donating things that dont need(soap, towels, books, etc) to send to his region. The things we throw away that we feel have no more value can change lives in this region. This is a Call to all people reading this! Lets stand up and help all of gods Children..

    March 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  11. Norma Bozzini, M.D. Vice president, Tiba Foundation

    Dan is truly an amazing person! He persuaded a group of 7 US doctors to come to Ugenya in 2004 and from that visit, Matbabu was born. Tiba Foundation ( is the US organization providing much of the funding, including the funding for the hospital. Through Tiba, over 100 US volunteers/year visit Kenya and provide specialist medical and surgical care in addition to other valuable services. Keep up the fantastic work, Dan!

    March 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Sebahattin

      Thank you Krishna sir,We really acaieprpte for your kind information regarding our beloved village. It has been always fantastic to hear news about our village in such a way,especially, in development sector. I am very much proud of you that you have been serving for our village for such a long prior of time.When I saw your face it remind me of my school age and all those stupid things that i used to do at that time. It just feels like yesterday, I feel young again like a boy. I do hope you also feel the same as me, don't you sir? I have no doubt you have a huge connection with the school and village both emotionally and physically. I know you love the place same as any other villagers. Only one thing is different with compare to other is that you have been contributing with your highly respected qualification, dedication and honestly almost whole of your life.My heartfelt thanks to you for your hard work and showing such an enthusiasm towards our village and as well as school.We are very lucky to have such a generous teacher and proud of you.Your sincerelyEx student Arjun badmas danda ghar.PS it would be better if you could publish your e mail add so we can contact you personally in future.

      March 18, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  12. Rosah Tsimonjela

    Just watched this on CNN....quite impressed...good job Dan!!!! Proud of you

    March 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • Jesus

      I found you in Real Simple also. I already have you in my bnlloiges just haven't been on here much due to surgery.I have grown cherry tomatoes in my south bay window for the past two winters. I simply open cherry tomatoes into a pot, cover the seeds, and water all winter long! We've had to cut them off each year as they reach the ceiling!This year, I hope to grow tomatoes from hanging pots and strawberries indoors. Hopefully I'll get additional ideas from your site. We have 6 flower gardens and 1 veggie garden. One of our flower gardens is watered from the dropping water from our 2nd floor deck plants. I'd love to learn other ways to recycle water to help the environment and also cut the costs of my gardening obsession!

      March 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  13. Katharine

    Great story! Here is another story of someone working very hard to make a difference in Sudan. It's heart wrenching but so inspirational how some people turn lemons into lemonade.

    March 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  14. .

    Health is the new wealth. Without health, you're going to be dependent on the Obozo healthcare system. And some big, fat SEIU claims adjuster is going to deny your claim without even having to identify themselves.

    Then you die.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  15. pkrbkr

    God bless you and your work, Dan! We need more of your efforts in this world. We are ALL God's children and until we realize that and help one another, no matter where we live, there will continue to be poverty, hunger, wars and untold suffering.

    March 4, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  16. Bart Wang

    What an amazing man! We're so proud of you, Dan. And, everyone, it's true that Dan will share everything he has with you. He allowed us to stay at his home and then told us his much of his life story – until 2AM! It was an honour to hear it and share his heart for the people.

    March 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply

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