Rewarding Experience

My Name is Tanya Raven a second year Mental Health Nursing Student from The University of Nottingham in England.

Mmmh okey, I was looking for a place in Africa to work within the gender based violence. In the course of my search elective Africa came up and appeared to me as the best opportunity for eme and this opportunity packaged in the way I desired was present in Kenya and Mombasa Kenya to be precise. It was easy for me therefore to choose it as it presented what I exactly wanted.

1. What was your general expectation as you travelled to Kenya, and as you started off your rotation?

After my choice of Kenya, of course informed by my desire to learn and experience mental health nursing, my general expectation was to see how the health system here deals with issues relating to GBV. I also expected to much learn on how the nursing care differs with England. It was also in my expectation to learn about culture and social effects that influence on the health and possibly borrow  leaf and learn something to take back to England

2. What are some of the key health concerns in the region you were placed for an elective?

If I was to state one, I would definitely agree with the statistics of Kenya that HIV AIDs is a major problem for the health system. Besides the inadequate accessibility to the health services and the inadequate resources makes the delivery of care unique across the various conditions.

3. What are some of the experiences you had in the hospital of placement, that shaped your rotation/elective?

One of such was in the labour ward where I got to see the Ceasarian section and how it is conducted. This was both an amazing experience and a tragic experience for me but very educative I must say.  With regards to my main area of objective working with the nurse at the gender based centre and listening to her counsel people was definitely amazing and the Nurse was friendly and overly inspirational

4. What would you say in your opinion are the challenges in the delivery of care in the hospital you were placed at?

Low resources levels(funding) would be my number one challenge in the GBV center that was evident and also in the labor wards its something that was out rightly observable. The health care professionals have to greatly improvise but some services can only be delivered when the resources are adequately present. Resources shortages is a big challenge.

5. What was your best moment during your placement in Kenya ?

At the hospital, seeing people being counselled was amazing but the best of it was the sight of relief in the patients when for example a HIV test came out as negative. Basically the whole experience of a new health system, new ways of care delivery and different culture was all very rewarding. 

On the Recreational aspect, Visiting Holla park, seeing Giraffes and getting to hold a crocodile and put it on my head was very amazing. Visiting the South coast beach and having other students from Hong Kong and sharing perspectives with them was actually a very great experience. 


6. Is it something you would like to have again?

Absolutely this is an experience I would like to have again. Once I qualify I would like to come back and volunteer for a longer period and be able to help. I would definitely choose to come with Elective Africa and my advice to anyone out there thinking of travelling for the elective to choose Elective Africa but more so to get to learn a bit of Swahili.

I end by saying Kwaheri – goodbye and Asate – Thankkyou, The top Swahili words I earnt . Learning Swahili was very amazing as well. 


Tanya Raven

University of Nottingham