I am now into my third week working in Kiambu District Hospital paediatric department. Compared with the placements some of the other Global Links volunteers are undertaking, I am in a relatively well resourced hospital. We have two paediatric consultants, a paediatric ward and a newborn unit. The paediatric ward has 49 beds, although there are frequently 70 or 80 patients in the ward. It’s not unusual to find 3 children sharing a bed. The unit is never full! The newborn unit is similar, with 30-40 babies, usually sharing cots and incubators. Deaths are an almost daily occurrence. A variety of factors contribute to this, late presentation, underlying malnutrition, limited investigations and limited resources to name but a few.
I am however enjoying myself, there are huge opportunities for me to hone my clinical skills and I enjoy the opportunities I have to teach the interns. The large numbers of patients mean that I’m getting great clinical experience.
There are several benefits to living in Kiambu town, not least that fact that this is a farming area and fresh fruit and veg are available in abundance. I’m also living reasonably close to Nairobi, which means that I have access to all the benefits of a big city (i.e. great food!).
My hope is that my time here will help me develop as a physician, I have so much to learn. I also hope that as an extra set of hands in Kiambu I can use my time to help develop the service that is offered to patients here.
So 6 months now lie before me, I’m looking forward to seeing what they hold!