November 2018

 

Hello everyone!

I am Franziska, medical student from University of Kiel, Germany and currently on Public Health Exchange in Nairobi Kenya!

So welcome back to our blog, I’d say the next blogging season from Nairobi – Public Health Exchange is about to start!

During the first weeks of my stay in Nairobi, the field-work for the public health class of 5th year medical school took place. Back in Germany, I was always longing for some Public Health lectures, which my home university in Kiel did not offer.

Lucky me – I got the chance to join them for a day!

In advance, the students had lectures on Public Health and also prepared a survey in which they addressed various variables and determinants of Public Health key issues, including performance of health facilities and availability of Primary Health Care centres, vaccination and Focused Antenatal Care (ANC). The 2 weeks of field-work were meant to collect the data in various rural Health Care Centres around Nairobi, followed by analysis of data.

In conclusion, this course aims at going through all the steps necessary for conducting a research survey.

My group went to the Health Centre Gikambura near the town Kikuyu, 20km off Nairobi. Officially supposed to work with 2 doctors and 13 nurses, the Centre is actually staffed continously with only 3 nurses. We picked our data from the charts for Antenatal Care and Family Planning and reviewed the already collected data. At the pharmacy room we assisted serving the waiting patients, filled paracetamol from a rather big container in the bottles patients were bringing (never did that before) and counted ciprofloxacin pills for one course of treatment in provided plastic boxes.

Being new to Kenya, means also being new to Kenyan society and traditions, this is why I am was particularly delighted when a conversation between students started, concerning their inner thoughts about a rather important and controversial topic all around the globe: How to raise a family and when starting to do so. Some were afraid of facing financial issues when it comes to schooling, but in Kenya, already the delivery in the safe environment of a hospital can be quite expensive. Facing the exploding population number of Kenya (right now about 51 million, and assumed to double until 2030 to 100 million), generally there is particular interest in family planning services. Nevertheless, the students agreed to still having at least 2 children.

Another curious thing I already read about, and faced here immediately, is the fact how fast people are getting in running businesses at a young age. Mandela, one of the students, started a company with some friends when he was in 4th year of medical school. They are maintaining a node in Nairobi that serves the EOS blockchain protocol (dealing with cryptocurrencies).

When I saw the poster on Family Planning, a curious story had been told: Generally, abortion is ‚ considered to be illegal‘ (http://eaclj.org/about-us/7-fida-and-kclf-landscaped-comparison.html), it not for medical reasons. Yet, an estimated number of 300.000 abortions are carried out each year, most of them under horrible conditions. The Marie Stopes Internatinal (MSI) is an international organisation with the slogan ‚Children by choice, not chance‘ (https://www.mariestopes.org/where-we-work/kenya/). They propagate contraceptives and safe abortion service. This week, they had been accused by Kenyan government to act out abortions illegally (https://cmfblog.org.uk/2018/11/22/marie-stopes-guilty-of-carrying-out-illegal-abortionsagain/).

If you look carefully at the poster, you will find the Marie Stopes logo on top. The question around abortions and sexual education in Kenya is a highly emotional fight.

Book recommendations

Alex Perry – In Africa, Reise in die Zukunft (english: The rift – A new Africa breaks free)

Volker Seitz – Afrika wird armregiert

Ingrid Laurien – Kenia Ein Länderportrait