Medics Abroad Summer Elective 2018: Our Clinical Experience in Kenya

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Our first summer elective in Kenya is coming to an end, and our Medics have made many memories, within the hospital and beyond. As highlighted in last week’s article, electives in developing countries are extremely rewarding. Our medics have observed the management of many new conditions and witnessed so many complex procedures. Below is a compilation of some conditions that they have come across, as written by them:

“I’ve seen the conditions that you really only hear about and see in textbooks when you study in a developed country. I’ve seen a wide range of HIV/AIDS patients, Kaposi sarcoma, Hepatitis B, Malaria and so many other conditions. In addition, many of these patients tend to present for hospital care later than I would usually see in Dublin, so I am seeing many cases of advanced conditions as well as their complications.”

Claire (Female Ward, Internal Medicine).

“The medical team members were very welcoming and always willing to teach. As part of the team, I was able to take histories and examine patients on the ward. I was also given the opportunity to attend several cesarean sections and surgeries such as tuboplasty, intestinal obstruction, pleural effusion drainage, and excisional biopsy.”

Aaisha (Obstetrics/Gynaecology & General Surgery).

“This elective gave me the opportunity to witness many interesting cases ranging from a boy with severe elephantiasis to a man with hydatid cysts in his lungs and liver. Such cases are rarely found in most hospitals and I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness the diagnosis, management, and follow up of these patients.”

Hajar (Male Ward, Internal Medicine & Paediatrics).

“On my first day at the hospital, I saw an elderly female patient who had an exposed (outside her skin) huge psoas abscess. She also had cellulitis which had spread all over her lower limbs. The next day, I saw a patient with hepatitis B whose abdomen was extremely distended; it appeared to be ascites with hepatomegaly.”

Fatima (Female Ward, Internal Medicine).

“I was on the paediatric ward for 2 weeks and witnessed the admission of a 1-year-old female with a non-productive cough, who was vomiting blood with associated melaena. It was only on the 3rd day post admission that they realised that the suspected GI bleed was not a true GI bleed. The mother had taken the child to her traditional doctor who cut off her uvula (uvulectomy) as this was thought to stop coughs. It was only when the cough did not cease that the mother brought her baby to the hospital. And the cough was thought to be a simple bronchiolitis. I never even had the thought that someone would cut off their uvula as a way to stop coughing. But here where the people are surrounded by traditional doctors, finding a baby with a uvulectomy is relatively common.”

Claire (Paediatrics).

“One of the most interesting cases I saw in the female ward was a case of molar pregnancy which is something I never thought I’d get a chance to see. I got to see the ultrasound which showed a huge uterine mass with a grape-like appearance just like it was mentioned in one of our lectures. This was a really great experience as I was able to see the diagnosis, investigations, and management first hand and that is something I’m really grateful for.”

Hind (Female Ward, Internal Medicine).

“I got to see many interesting cases during my stay in the paediatric ward. One of the cases was a 4-month-old male who presented with tachypnoea, diaphragmatic retractions, and periorbital oedema. When we took the history and examined him we discovered that he had a congenital heart disease. He also had diffuse small lesions on his body which were attributed to scabies. Additionally, he was suspected to be HIV positive and therefore was going to be investigated and then managed further.”

– Bayan (Paediatrics).

Claire Ragobar –

Aisha Al-Naaimi –

Hajar Abdulla –

Fatima Alshaikh –

Hind Alhashimi –

Bayan Mahdi –

Dr Helen Zidon

The author Dr Helen Zidon

Dr. Helen Zidon (MB BCh BAO LRCP SI) RCSI (Class of 2016) is the COO of Medics Abroad & the Senior Medical Content Manager at 3D4Medical, an award-winning company at the forefront of Medical Technology. With a team of 3D artists and Software developers, she creates the most detailed 3D models of structures of the human body. These award-winning apps and models have been showcased at both Apple and Microsoft Keynote events, and are used daily by students, doctors, surgeons and for patient education.

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