Tenwek Community Health and Development

The mission of Tenwek Community Health and Development is to facilitate change through community-based healthcare and development projects within needy communities. This mission is carried out through a variety of outreach projects:

  • HIV/AIDS prevention messages on remaining faithful to spouses, abstinence, and voluntary counseling and testing
  • Safe and accessible water 
  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene in homes and schools
  • Maternal child health and family planning
  • Assistance to orphans and vulnerable children 
  • Strengthening communities to find and implement solutions to problems they face

Prevention Rather Than Cure

TCHD believes in prevention rather than cure. People are educated on how to live healthy by observing good health measures, such as practicing good nutrition, sleeping under mosquito nets, observing good hygiene, immunizing children, providing maternal and child healthcare, preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, and practicing safer sex and promoting abstinence for the unmarried. These health measures have drastically reduced preventable illnesses in communities reached by TCHD. 

People-Owned Processes

However, countless opportunities for ministry and many unreached communities remain. Orphans and vulnerable children require care, the HIV prevalence rate in the area ranges from 1.7 percent to 5 percent, the majority of people still live below the poverty line, and communities continue to invite TCHD to share development tools based on their impact in neighboring communities. Many churches are not at a point to minister effectively to their communities and few other community-based organizations work effectively in this area, so TCHD continues to be a major agent for transformational change.  

TCHD challenges the people to take the lead in initiating and maintaining community-based healthcare facilities that are affordable and accessible to all. Health gaps are identified through People-Owned Processes, meaning that the people of a community plan and implement solutions for their health needs. For example, if there are no proper latrines, they are involved in building them, and where there is malnutrition, they diversify their food and plant kitchen gardens, etc. 


Tenwek Community Health and Development is a department of Tenwek Hospital, a ministry of Africa Gospel Church. Missionary nurse Gertrude Shryock established medical work at Tenwek in 1937 when World Gospel Mission opened a small dispensary on the site.  

In 1959, Ernie Steury and his wife, Sue, arrived as the first doctor. Later, the hospital felt the need to reach beyond its own doors into the community to meet the people’s total health needs. In 1983, Susan Carter and David Stevens began the Tenwek Community Health program.

Tenwek Community Health was established in response to the many patients visiting Tenwek Hospital who were suffering from preventable diseases (80 percent); hence its motto, “Bir Mat Ko Loo” (Prevention Is Better Than Cure). In 1989, it was realized that community members were not able to pay for the health services being provided to them, so a development arm was started to teach income-generating activities and to address the problem of malnutrition. This merged with Tenwek Community Health in 2004 in recognition of the need to provide a holistic approach to address spiritual, physical, and development needs. THCD is now completely run by Kenyan leaders. 


  • The HIV prevention program is currently reaching out to 30,000 clients per year for counseling and testing and offers trainings on prevention to an additional 20,000 individuals. Over 200,000 people have had HIV testing and know their HIV status.
  • More than 500,000 homes have improved hygiene and sanitation through health teachings and home visits.
  • Over 64,000 youth have been reached with abstinence and Be Faithful messages.
  • More than 4,000 orphans and vulnerable children have received educational and health assistance.
  • Four food security grain banks have been established to keep food accessible and affordable to the community.
  • The Church Mobilization program is currently reaching out to over 50,000 people.
  • With a total population of more than 4,000 pupils, 10 schools have benefited from water projects.
  • Bio-Sand sand filtration systems are reaching over 13,500 people.
  • Mobile clinics are currently reaching out to an average of 2,000 antenatal (post-birth) care mothers and 6,000 babies/children for immunization.


PrayPRAY: Pray for the staff of Tenwek Community Health and Development as they treat illness, teach about prevention, and train health workers to reach out to their communities. Pray that the love of Jesus Christ will be demonstrated in all the activities and programs. 

GiveGIVE: Support the work of Tenwek Community Health and Development by sending in your gift with #125-35209 marked on the memo line to:

World Gospel Mission
P.O. Box 948
Marion, IN 46952-0948