Ever since I first felt led by God to go overseas, I have wanted to help the financially poor nationals in some way; this longing led me into nursing. Visiting Africa has served to reaffirm my desire to improve the lives of Africans through improved healthcare.
I visited Kijabe Hospital the other day and was both shocked by the pitiful state of care on the units and some of the practices of the surgical department. I must interject here that I am informed by both missionaries and Kenyan’s alike that the conditions at Kijabe Hospital are significantly cleaner and better than those of other hospitals in Kenya. The units were dirty and many patients were in the same room close enough to touch each other. The surgical staff exposed themselves unnecessarily to the possibility of contracting diseases such as HIV and AIDS. It was obvious to me that teaching the existent staff would improve some health care conditions and decrease risk factors of further disease.
I discovered through my visits to Kijabe Hospital and Kijabe School of Nursing that they do not have all of the supplies that make education and practice easier. Kijabe School of Nursing has a library of reference materials for the student nurses. However, I was saddened to learn that most of the books are medical instead of nursing books, because, as a nurse myself, I know that medical books can often be too technical for the nurse, let alone for the nursing student. In addition, I was pleased to learn that the nursing school has access to the internet but disheartened when I discovered that the students must pay for their time using it due to the expense of internet access in Kenya. The surgical department at the hospital does not have a free-flow of necessary surgical supplies which has resulted in great creativity and ingenuity on the side of the staff. I have contacts that may help me to improve hospital supplies and nursing reference materials.
Finally, most people know that there is a high incidence of HIV and AIDS in Africa. Approximately 6% of the population in Kenya has been diagnosed with one or the other. My heart goes out to a population who doesn’t know how to prevent the spread of the disease or how to care for dying family members. There are established programs of which I could become a part by teaching, administering medications, counseling, and helping the infected and family.
This visit has not only confirmed the need for improved health care in Africa, but it has also served to reaffirm my heartfelt desire to help improve this health care for all Africans.