Nicholas Kirui

5th year student – University of Nairobi, Kenya
FACES Suba, November – December 2007

When I told my friends I was going to Suba for my elective term they looked at me with amazement and asked: where is Suba? Though most of my colleagues are Kenyans none had travelled to this lakeside town, some knew it was in Nyanza and had only heard of it but did not know of it. I think I chose Suba because I knew very little of it and I wanted to experience a totally different culture from the one I grew up in. I spent 4 weeks in Suba, November and December 2007.

My experience in this lakeside town on the shores of Lake Victoria was eye-opening, having to interact with persons of a different culture and belief system. It was a humbling experience to listen to the different perceptions of disease and their afflictions. Compared to the other parts of the country this was a really resource poor setting.

Of particular importance to me was the working of the Comprehensive Care Clinic at the District Hospital at Sindo with the counselors and community health assistants playing a pivotal role in the provision of health care. They provide an essential link between the clinicians and the patients especially in the areas of drug adherence, lifestyle change and the role of good nutrition in health. On the first of December I attended the celebrations of the World AIDS day and different HIV positive individuals came forward to talk about the different challenges they face daily, the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS is slowly being overcome in this region.

The decentralization of health care with daily visits by clinicians was commendable. I enjoyed the rides through the park with its beautiful scenery and its wild animals: giraffes, roan antelopes e.t.c in their natural habitat. The impassable roads during the rainy days were a real challenge.

Finally the coordination and cooperation among the staff at the clinic was commendable. Their support was sincere and they were always willing to explain the different activities they engaged in. Given a whole day I can in no way put down in writing my Suba experience, you have to experience it to feel the excitement that is within me. If you have thought of doing your elective in Suba, don’t hesitate you shall not be disappointed.

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