Kenya: July 2011
During my six-week rotation at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, I worked 60 hours per week on inpatient wards. I also spent time in
specialized outpatient clinics including the PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) and cervical cancer screening clinics. In the
hospital, I rotated through the Labor Ward, the Antenatal/Postnatal Units, and the Gynecology Ward for two weeks each.
The patients on the wards are cared for by medical officer interns from Kenya (who are equivalent to first year residents in the U.S.). These young interns essentially run the services with sporadic input of Kenyan residents or attending physicians. As a senior resident from the United States in Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of my roles was to help guide patient management and provide didactic and hands-on teaching to these Kenyan medical students and interns. As a visiting physician in the wards, I also did complicated deliveries, cesarean sections and gynecologic surgery, and managed high-risk pregnancies.
In the outpatient setting, I provided medical services to women living with HIV in Kenya, including prenatal care and health education for pregnant patients, and colposcopy and excisional procedures of the cervix as part of the cervical cancer prevention program for non-pregnant patients.
I gained a lot from my patients as well. I learned about the complicated medical and social situations unique to healthcare systems in Africa. It inspired me to think creatively to get through the gender, economic, and social barriers our patients face daily.