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Juan Pirotta
Ryan Camilleri
         

JUAN ELLUL PIROTTA AND RYAN CAMILLERI
Maltese

Medical Work Experience Internship in Kenya

         

Juan Ellul Pirotta and Ryan Camilleri / Medical Internship - Diani in Kenya
These two Interns were both from Malta and did their internships in Diani in Kenya as part of their university requirement. They comment below on the first week of their experience at the Hospital.

Our first week in the hospital was quite an informative but at the same time shocking experience. On our first day (30th June) we had our induction, where were shown around the various sections of the hospital. The first thing one notices is the lack of hygienic measures and standards compared to hospitals in our home country. We were told that unfortunately this state is due to lack of funding and supply of basic requirements by the government.

During our working days we were greeted very warmly by the staff members, who allowed us to be involved in certain procedures. On the 1st of July we were assigned to the MHC, which deals with infant vaccinations, antenatal care and family planning. For the first time we had the opportunity to give vaccinations to children. The staff members also informed us of the vaccination schedule in Kenya, which happens to be very similar to the European one, except that the BCG vaccine is given earlier due to endemic TB, although supplies were out of stock during our stay.

From Monday to Friday we spent most of the time in the Casualty Department, since it covers most areas of medicine and it is a very useful source of gaining experience for our future careers. Here we encountered new cases and we were allowed to follow the management of some interesting cases within the hospital.

To our surprise, most of the doctors within the casualty department were undergraduate students, who most of the time were not under supervision by senior doctors. Since funds are limited they complained that they were not even being paid appropriately for their work. They were very well educated about treating common causes such as Malaria and TB, although they were less experienced in treating less common conditions. Another problem is that patients are not entitled to free investigations and treatment, except for taking blood pressure and clinical examination.

We were allowed by the staff members to perform (under supervision) certain basic procedures such as cannula insertion, blood-letting, performing sutures, giving IM and subcutaneous injections and interpreting results and X-rays. This was indeed helpful and useful for our medical experience, since such opportunities are not so frequent in our home country.

On one of the days, we were assigned to the Laboratory. Here we observed how investigations (especially antenatal) are carried out. This included registration of patients, blood-letting, blood grouping, blood smearing, staining and microscopic examination (for malaria parasites), Hb estimation, urinalysis and stool culture. We were also invited to assist in performing these investigations, which again was useful in broadening our experience in the medical field.

We also visited the Paediatric Ward, where we observed a ward round with a Paediatric Consultant. Within the ward, there are different rooms, where patients are isolated according to the diagnosis, so as to limit cross-infection. Despite this, the number of patient beds was limited, which sometimes resulted in two patients using the same bed. Another shocking revelation was that one of the patients, who desperately needed certain procedures involving insertion of a nasogastric tube, had to be withdrawn due to cultural and religious beliefs.

Overall, this week has served as a good insight into how patients are managed and treated in a Governmental Hospital in Kenya. We are finding the experience very interesting and useful, as well as satisfying, as we feel that we are helping the patients with what we know and however we can.

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