Kijabe Hospital, Kenya
Kijabe Hospital enjoys a very good reputation among the Kenyan people and is relatively modern compared to other medical care facilities in the nation. Services include inpatient adults and pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology and a very busy surgery department. Kijabe also emphasizes care in HIV and orthopedics. Since it is a referral center, patients coming to Kijabe tend to be very sick.
The hospital has a strong commitment to medical education and frequently hosts medical students from the USA, Canada, Netherlands, the UK, and Australia. The facility also sponsors residencies in general surgery and family medicine. Students participate in the full range of clinical care and are supported by a faculty who regularly make presentations at scientific meetings.
Location & Community The town of Kijabe is situated a one-hour drive northwest of the capital city of Nairobi, in Kenya, eastern Africa. The famed Rift Valley escarpment passes through Kijabe with its 300-meter drop off, making for a spectacular vista. In addition to Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe is also home to the Rift Valley Academy, Kenya College of Nursing, and Moffatt Bible School.
Though it is located on the equator, the elevation of Kijabe at about 2000 meters makes for a moderate climate. The seasons are reversed from North America. The hot season is from December to February, with daytime temperatures 70s-80s degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures in the 70s. The cool season lasts from June to August, with temperatures in the 60s-70s during the day and 50s at night.
TransportationVisitors should arrive in Nairobi, the capital city. The hospital will usually arrange pickup from the airport and transportation to the hospital by car.
Visa RequirementFor current information, please visit the Kenyan Embassy website appropriate for your country. The website for the Kenyan Embassy in the USA is http://www.kenyaembassy.com. US citizens can normally purchase a visa on arrival at the airport in Nairobi and should be prepared to pay cash in US dollars. To speed the immigration process, the visa application can be downloaded from the Kenyan Embassy website and completed in advance.
Traveler’s Health & SafetyPlease check the CDC travel website for the most up-to-date health information: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx, and consult with your physician before traveling. Hepatitis A and B vaccinations must be up to date. Malaria in not common in Kijabe, and malaria prophylaxis is generally not recommended to those who will be remaining in the area. However, other areas of Kenya are at risk for malaria and travel in those regions may necessitate malaria prophylaxis.
Visitors are advised to regularly check the U.S. State Department website for the most up-to-date information regarding travel advisories: http://www.state.gov/travelandbusiness. Visitors are advised to regularly check the U.S. State Department website for the most up-to-date information regarding country specific travel information http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html
PatientsKenyan people are generally very friendly and have an incredibly positive attitude, even in the face of severe illness and poverty. Most of the people in Kijabe are ethnically Kikuyu people. They make a living by farming and via small businesses. They are known to be industrious, and the British sought them out as employees during the colonial years.
Patients seeking care at Kijabe frequently suffer from respiratory infections, dehydration, arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. All forms of tuberculosis, HIV, burns, and trauma from falls and motor vehicle accidents are frequent, as is sepsis and malignancies. Malaria and brucellosis are less frequently encountered. Since it is a referral center, patients coming to Kijabe tend to be very sick.
LanguagesEnglish is the official medical language of Kenya. English is routinely used in the hospital, and staff can interpret for Kenyan nationals who may not speak English. Most nationals speak Kikuyu (sometimes written Gikuyu), as their first language, and the trade language in this region is Swahili.
FacilitiesKijabe Hospital is relatively modern compared to most clinics and dispensaries in Kenya and has a very good reputation among the Kenyan people. Inpatient services include general surgery and medicine (adult and pediatric), obstetrics, gynecology and neonatology with a 208-bed capacity. Over 5000 surgical cases are performed each year, including neurosurgical and urological cases. The obstetrics & gynecology department is comprised of a maternity ward, neonatal nursery, maternal child health clinic and serves as a referral centre for high-risk obstetric and complicated gynecologic cases.
Outpatient services include general acute illnesses and specialty clinics in diabetes, orthopedics, ophthalmology, tuberculosis, gynecology and HIV/AIDS. Clinical support services include X-ray, ultrasound, pharmacy, physiotherapy and clinical laboratory. The Marira Clinic of AIC Kijabe Hospital is located 15 kilometers from the hospital in the Uplands area. This outpatient facility serves general OPD, MCH/FP and HIV/AIDS patients who do not need to travel to the hospital.
Kijabe Hospital is operated by the African Inland Church. Expenses are covered by income from fees for service, and fees are kept low in order to serve the poor. Overseas donor agencies provide funding for major capital works. Kijabe Hospital also works in association with the Bethany Crippled Children’s Center of Kenya, an independent facility located adjacent to Kijabe Hospital.
Health Profession StaffThe core medical staff includes 6 surgeons (3 general surgeons, 1 orthopedic surgeon, 2 obstetricians-gynecologists, 1 pediatric surgeon, 1 pediatric rehabilitation surgeon), four family physicians, an internist and a pathologist. Most of the staff physicians are American trained. This group is supported by a number of visiting surgeons representing neurosurgery, ENT, plastics, urology and orthopedics.
Student ExperienceKijabe Hospital has a strong commitment to medical education. It frequently hosts medical students from Kenya, Uganda, USA, Canada, Netherlands, the UK, and Australia. Surgery residents from the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) train in pediatric surgery at Kijabe Hospital. A family medicine residency program was launched in 2005, leading to a Master of Medicine (MMed) degree conferred by Kenya’s Moi University. Clinical research is encouraged at Kijabe Hospital, whose staff regularly make presentations at scientific meetings.
Medical education at Kijabe Hospital integrates physiologic, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual parameters. Medical students participate in the full range of clinical activities, including inpatient care, outpatient clinics, surgery and obstetrics. Educational opportunities also include daily morning report, monthly morbidity and mortality reviews, weekly grand rounds, clinical-pathological conferences, and a dedicated afternoon of CME each week. A spacious library and modern conference room facilitates the learning process.
Student Lodging & MealsA variety of accommodation possibilities exist, depending upon staffing at any given time. These may include housing at a Kijabe hotel, in a 6-plex housing unit, or in detached residence. Students will usually have their own bedroom, running water and flush toilet. Groceries can be easily purchased for meal preparation at home.
Outside CommunicationThe library at Kijabe Hospital has Internet access, though the communication speed is slow.
Facility SupportINMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to donate to support the facility. This is not required but allows INMED participants to become involved in every aspect of medical missions.
Behavior & DressWomen should dress for hospital work like they would in North America, and pants are acceptable. Short sleeves are also acceptable, but long sleeves are more proper. A dress is appropriate for church. Men rarely ever wear ties. Neither men nor women should ever wear short pants, except at the beach. The sunlight at Kijabe is intense, so a hat and sun block are essential.