WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
This is a fantastic small rural hospital about 1.5 hours from Mombasa. The surroundings are beautiful and the local people are exceptionally friendly.
You may find yourself working in one of a number of departments within the hospital. These include the HIV clinic, which involves both in hospital work and the running of outreach clinics in the local communities, support groups, paediatrics, inpatients, outpatients' clinic, laboratory, pharmacy and theatre. Depending on which department you are assisting, you may be able to help with blood tests, malaria tests, vaccines and other activities, so that there is certainly a lot of scope for learning. All volunteers can also take part in the inspiring community outreach programme and support groups.
There is a small nursing school attached to the hospital and volunteers taking part in medical electives are encouraged to engage with local students and attend talks and seminars when these are being held. This is an excellent chance for cultural exchange and an opportunity to gain specialist knowledge, particularly in tropical medicine.
Volunteers taking part on this project are able to make a huge difference to the morale of both staff and patients working in this rural community. By bringing their enthusiasm and energy, volunteers are able to motivate those around them while learning an incredible amount. One surgeon said "volunteers are a blessing and it lifts our spirits and enthusiasm to have them here working with us".
Volunteers are asked to remain flexible and use their initiative in order to get the most out of this placement. You may be dealing with anything from common complaints like headaches and toothache to more serious ailments, such as malaria and typhoid. You may be assisting the doctors in taking vital measurements, such as blood pressure and temperature, or dispensing medication and assisting with nursing duties. The most common complaints are tropical diseases, but many patients also have the secondary complication of HIV/AIDS, which has a prevalence rate of up to 40% within the area. Part of your work will be to educate the local community, reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and provide support to those afflicted.