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Medical Internships and Healthcare Volunteer Programs in Kenya

This medical program is around the Kisii region of Kenya. The hospital is located in urban Keroka, about 20 minutes by bus from the host family (typically located in rural Kisii). The hospital has about 30 beds and 20 medical professionals. The doctors and nurses help patients with things like examinations, checkups, vaccinations, suturing, maternity and child-birth, HIV/AIDS, pediatric, general medicine, occupational/physical therapy, x-ray, and emergence. Volunteers and interns typically help the local doctors, learn how healthcare system works in Kenya, and gain hands-on experience for giving injections, assisting with child birth, etc.

Location Information

The work project takes places in the Keroka town, which is a connection point to the famous Masai Mara wildlife Reserve, the 7th wonders of the world. For these interested, our team can also help with booking a weekend safari trip so that travelers don’t have to stress about it.
Participants typically fly into the airport in the capital city Nairobi. The local coordinator typically meet participants at the airport and then travel with them to the accommodation. Travelling from Nairobi to the Kisii region is about 5-hour bus ride and bus tickets are very affordable in Kenya. (Many past volunteers find $30 to be enough for weekly personal spending, but this can vary greatly depending on personal spending habits. If a volunteer plans to eat out a lot or join tours, they should plan for more personal spending budget.)

Work Project Information

The hospital has about 30 beds, 15 nurses, 3 doctors, and 10 clinicians. The hospital staff has been very welcoming to our past volunteers/interns and offered lots of opportunities for hands-on experience to participants who can show they are responsible and trustworthy.

Roles of Volunteers and Interns

Volunteers and interns work at the local hospital together with local doctors and nurses to help the patients. This is a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience for pre-med and medical students as the local doctors and nurses are open to interns who can show that they are responsible and want to learn more in the medical field.

Tasks that interns and volunteers might do:

-Assist in suturing
-Check vital signs
-Remove stitches
-Give vaccinations/injections
-Clean wounds
-Assist in child-birth
-Give medicines after doctor’s coordination
-HIV/AIDS testing
-Providing guidance and counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS
-Distributing medication to the HIV infected
-Providing care for the HIV infected
-Teaching patients on proper dietary

Requirements:

– Application with required documents (such as CV)
– Respectful and Interested in learning new things in the healthcare field in Kenya
– Open-mindedness to work and live in a different culture

Recommendations

-Some experience or education within the medical field is recommended, but not absolutely necessary.
-It is recommended for volunteers to work for at least 2 weeks or more, but not absolutely necessary.

Work Hours

Working hours are flexible and can be customized according to individual preferences with advanced notice.

-Regular hours are from Monday to Friday, from about 08:00 to 17:00. Lunch is normally from 13:00 to 14:00.
-Volunteers and interns can also choose to do part time work with reduced hours if they want.
-If they want to be kept busy, then they can also consider working in the weekends since the hospital is open 7 days a week.

What to Bring

To be allowed to start working, interns and volunteers need to have a white lab coat for doing healthcare work in the hospital. If participants want to have a stethoscope, they might want to bring this as well as they might feel that this is personal.

Home-Stay

-Volunteers and Interns typically live in Nyabiosi village with a host family. The host families are usually within 45 minutes walk and 10 minutes by bus to the facility.
-Typical host families provide 3 meals a day, a private bedroom with a lock, a shared bathroom (with hot shower), electricity, and water. Please note that the electricity may sometimes be cut off at certain hours in the day time. This applies to the whole village, not just to one family, but it happens once in a while.
-The host families have gone through security and background checks, so they are safe to stay with.
-All the host families are selected since they are friendly and welcoming families who are interested in sharing their culture with foreigners.

Think About

Participants that have the best experience are the ones that are most open to a different world with different way of living, different way of working, etc. Some important things are a strong interest for an eye-opening experience, work experience, and cultural education. It is important to show the staff that you are interested by asking questions and offering their help etc. If the interns are too shy to talk and just sit in a corner, the staff might interpret this as if they don’t want to work or don’t have an interest in learning.

Some interns and volunteers have arrived with no relevant work experience but with an amazing personality, so they connect to the staff in the hospital right away and have a great time. However, sometimes we get volunteers that have a high level of education and a lot of experience but they are too shy to talk or expect everybody to adapt to them, so they never connect to the staff and in the end have a time that is not nearly as rewarding as it could be.

Also, note that it may take a few days before volunteers start to get into the routines of the hospital, get to know the staff, and also let the staff get to know them, so volunteers can’t expect to do everything on the first day.