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.
Become familiar with Kenya’s culture, history and economy by reviewing the Wikipedia Kenya Profile. Rich resources for Kenya health information include the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME Kenya Country Profile and the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Kenya Data.
Visitors should arrive in Nairobi, the capital city. The hospital will usually arrange pickup from the airport and transportation to the hospital by car.
For current information, please visit the Kenyan Embassy website appropriate for your country. United States citizens may visit the website for the Kenyan Embassy in the USA: https://www.kenyaembassydc.org. United States 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 & Safety
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. One should consult with their personal physician before traveling, and refer to the CDC Travel Website for the most up-to-date health information.
Kenyan 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.
English 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.
Medical Care Services
Kijabe 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.
HIV Care Services
Kijabe Hospital is part of the American government-funded President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through Catholic and Protestant Agencies. Through the years since the 2004 inception of Kijabe Hospital’s Project AIDS Relief, thousands of patients have been served and lives protected. The project also has trained well over 500 community health workers (CHWs), who are the backbone of the community HIV prevention and care program.
Kijabe Hospital and its outlying health centers provide appropriate artiretroviral therapy, with the benefit of full laboratory support. Management of severe HIV complications is provided by the inpatient service. Education in HIV management is a high priority. Kijabe Hospital hosts a formal AIDSRelief Mentorship Program, as well as superb clinical instruction. INMED’s president himself participated in this program.
Public Health Initiatives
Community health is an integral part of Kijabe Hospital’s comprehensive health care plan and an important balance to the curative care and educational missions of the hospital. A “Neonatal Community Health Programme” exemplifies one current community health intervention that addresses problems related to preventable morbidity & mortality. Kijabe Hospital’s on going “AIDS Relief Programme” provides another current intervention in comprehensive HIV education, counseling, testing and referral.
The newest community health intervention is taking place in nearby Old Kijabe Town, where a continuous comprehensive health assessment is taking place, together with intervention planning in cooperation with city leaders. High priorities include motor vehicle and burn injury prevention. Students are welcome to participate in the full range of community health services, including survey, planning, implementation and research.
A dedicated team of Kenyan nationals leads the comprehensive pharmaceutical care provided by Kijabe Hospital. They oversee all pharmacy logistics, including medication acquisition, inventory, distribution, and even process their own intravenous fluids. Kijabe Hospital pharmacists are heavily invested in supporting HIV care and medical care at satellite clinics. They enjoy an exemplary collaborative relationship with hospital staff, nurses, physicians, and community health workers.
Education is a highlight of the Kijabe Hospital Pharmacy, which serves as a regular clinical rotation site for pharmacy students from the University of Nairobe School of Pharmacy. As such, students follow a thoughtfully prepared curriculum while participating in all aspect of pharmaceutical care, including roles in education of both Kijabe Hospital patients and staff.
Healthcare Profession Staff
The 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.
Kijabe 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. Previous INMED Learners who served at this training site include these Graduates.
Student Lodging & Meals
A 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.
The library at Kijabe Hospital has Internet access, though the communication speed is slow. There are limited wifi modems and limited Kenyan phones available, therefore purchase a modem/internationalphone or SIM prior to coming or when you arrive in Nairobi.
INMED invites all participants to consider raising extra funds to donate to support this facility. While such efforts are not required, they will provide opportunities INMED personnel to become involved in this important aspect of international healthcare.
Behavior & Dress
Business casual attire is recommended. Women 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.