WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
You will be working in a vibrant and exciting local clinic with friendly doctors, nurses and laboratory and other staff. Your exact duties will depend on your previous experience, qualifications and medical background and also on whether you express any specific interest in being involved in any particular aspects of the work. It is important to remain open-minded and flexible, and also willing to be proactive in the search for work duties. With the right attitude and approach to the project, you are sure to enjoy a fantastic experience and take away unique memories.
The centre is well equipped with a number of departments, such as paediatrics, maternity, HIV and AIDS and a Comprehensive Care Centre. It deals with many types of medical procedures and conditions, both routine and emergency, so that for those of you with more experience, you could find yourself helping with circumcisions, caesareans, biopsies or vasectomies. Alternatively, you could be helping out-patients, assisting in the delivery of a baby or working in pharmacy or lab. So you should be comfortable with the sight of blood and be prepared to deal calmly with distressing situations.
The placement will enable you to observe in detail medical practices and give you the opportunity to take part in the day-to-day running of a Kenyan clinic. Those with determination, enthusiasm and aptitude may be able to assist the doctors, nurses and lab staff in their duties and gain hands on experience of administering care to the Kenyan people.
Depending on your interests and experience, you could get involved with many different aspects of medicine,such as urology, obstetrics and gynaecology, gastrology, paediatrics, eye testing, anti-natal clinics and pharmacy. You may also be able to help implement national health screening/immunisation programmes, support family planning objectives and provide health education to the local community by taking part in the monthly medical camp or medical outreach work in the community itself. You could be dealing with anything from common complaints like headaches and toothache to more serious ailments, such as malaria and typhoid. You may have the opportunity to assist the doctors in taking vital measurements, such as blood pressure and temperature, as well as helping to dispense medication and assisting with nursing duties.
The most common complaints are tropical diseases, although many patients have the secondary complication of HIV/AIDS, which has a prevalence rate of up to 20% within the area. It is important that volunteers on this programme are caring and very flexible, as the hospital needs are variable. However, those who are prepared to embrace this challenge will learn a great deal about the delivery of medical services to the local communities in Mombasa whilst also enjoying a rewarding and enriching experience.