Guest Blog: Week Two in Kenya by Caitlynn Benson

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Image shows two caucasian students with a Kenyan local.

Over the next few weeks, students in our nursing programs will be posting updates from Kenya – where they are participating in a field school with our MAISHA project partners.  Please enjoy Caitlynn Benson’s summary of their second week.

Our second week in Kenya was just as busy as the first. We faced a few challenges as a group such as large insects, raging rodents, and in some cases the traveller’s sickness. In spite of our struggles everyone remained in good spirits and carried on with the tight schedule assigned to each day.

Monday and Wednesday were designated clinic observation days for us students to get a feel of what a nurse’s role is in Kenya and what the health facilities consist of. We split into two groups on Monday and went to two different facilities, the Ogwedhi Health Centre and the Ondong Dispensary. We then switched groups on Wednesday so we had the opportunity to see both of the health facilities. We were able to tour the maternal wards, which consisted of a number of small rooms that were not nearly as luxurious as what we are used to seeing in Canada. The nurses had a large role in the health facilities, as there are no doctors on site. They do everything from deliveries, pre- and postnatal care, HIV counseling, and patient walk-in checkups. I cannot speak on behalf of the other girls but the first day in the health unit was very emotionally heavy for me. I sat with the nurse on duty while doing walk-in checkups and the lack of resources was overwhelming. There were many sick people coming in and the limited treatment options made it difficult for the nurses to provide a treatment plan.

Tuesday was designated as a community feedback day for the families we visited last week. As a group we collaboratively collected a summary of the data we had received from home visits last week and what nutritional value the families were missing. We then created visual aides to educate the families about what a balanced diet looked like, and the importance of regular clinic checkups for children under five.

Thursday was our last morning in Migori as the afternoon was designated for traveling to Nakuru, where we had the opportunity to play tourist for a day and go on a safari! The safari was so surreal I can speak with confidence that each one of us enjoyed ourselves very much.

After our day of tourism we continued our journey on to Nyeri where we will spend the remaining week of our field school viewing health care in a less rural setting.

Caitlynn is entering her second year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.  She is passionate about traveling and is hopeful that travel nursing will be a part of her career in the future.  She is excited to learn more about how the medical system differs in undeveloped countries compared to Canada and believes this experience will help her gain a better understanding of what travel nursing entails.

The Maternal Access and Infant Survival for Health Advancement (MAISHA) project serves to improve maternal, newborn and child health services at the community level by strengthening community health units and rural health facilities in Kenya.  Project partners include College of the Rockies, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, and Kenya’s Ministry of Health, with funding provided by the Government of Canada and with input and support from local and international organizations.