An Eye-Opening Premedical Shadowing Experience in Africa

My trip to Kenya was such a last second thing for me. I was planning to work this summer and I was looking at places to research at and Elective Africa’s page popped up and after reading into it, I was really interested in it. The rest is history;2 weeks later I’m in Kenya.

When I got here, I thought the differences weren’t going to be that bad, but on my first day here, I was in for a pleasant surprise. I was shocked to see such major differences between the 2 countries. In Kenya, they take notes/write everything by hand but in the US, everything is basically digitalized and is in a computer. Another thing was that there were no machines at all at the hospital. All measurements were taken by hand, which to me was totally different. The one thing that I noticed was that most children had 1 of 5 diseases which back home those weren’t even on the top 5 list, which was new to me. My 6 Weeks in Kenya have been very eye-opening and also a great and wonderful experience. I got to shadow in drawing blood, insertion of an IV in, giving vaccines, taking vital signs I was also able to watch a surgery and have a first-hand look into suturing. The  doctors who I worked with were also amazing mentors to me, showing me what they do and why they do it in a certain way, which gave me info to see if any cases like this back home are treated the same way which helped me think and also a learning point to see if I would do anything different back home. Heading home is almost bittersweet. I really want to stay and learn more and get more experiences that were amazing for my learning and that I can’t say anything bad about Kenya. The city was amazing from the beaches to the mall; the people were so friendly and kind. I definitely want to come back again sometime soon and go back to Coast Provincial General Hospital. I can’t thank Elective Africa enough for making this possible. And Kenya, I’ll be back real soon.

Raviteja Vunnam

Purdue University