Kenya - ISC: Global Health

Clinic InformationKenya - Working with public health officers at a maternal and child health outreach event.JPG

Students at Lwala Community Alliance will have rotations with clinic staff at the Lwala Community Hospital. This rural community clinic provides over 33,000 patient visits each year with HIV services and care provided to over 1,000 patients. Lwala’s healthcare foci include HIV care, maternal and child health, neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, pediatrics, primary care, and public health. 

Potential Rotations

  • Primary Care
  • Women's Health and OB/Gyn
  • Pediatrics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Community Health

Kenya - Nick Shelburne, ISC, malaria lab.jpgUnique Features of this Site

Students are encouraged to consider staying at Lwala for more than one month. Options for additional months include an AE and/or Research Immersion project and there are rich examples of research being integrated with clinical rotations.

Unique aspects to this ISC site include student engagement in community outreach activities such as water and sanitation (WASH) trainings, community gardening initiatives, community youth meetings, and health education. Students will rotate through the lab and learn to diagnose malaria parasites in blood smears (see photo on left). Students can also visit other clinics and the district hospital during patient referral trips. 

Site Information

English and Kiswahili are the official languages of Kenya, with numerous indigenous languages spoken throughout the country. The local language of Lwala is Dholwo/Dhluwo but no language proficiency is  required. Students are encouraged to learn phrases in Dhluwo and a list will be provided to students. 

Dress at Lwala is conservative and business casual (i.e. slacks, long skirts, blouses, and polo shirts). Scrubs are acceptable for nursing or medical students while in the clinic.

Room and board for students is arranged by Lwala Community Alliance at the guest house located on the clinic grounds. Internet is available on site, but service outages occur from time to time. Students fly into Kisumu and are met by a driver from Lwala for the 3 hour drive to Lwala. Students should budget between $1,500-2,500 for airfare, $200/week for room and board (which includes meals and internet), $120 for a taxi to/from Lwala from Kisumu (can be shared among students), and $150 for personal expenses.

More information about Lwala can be found in Lwala’s online orientation modules.

Student Reflections

“I had a wonderful time in Lwala learning about systems of care in rural Kenya and engaging with both clinicians and patients in the field. I think it would be a worthwhile experience for any medical student, regardless of career interests.” -anonymous, 2015

“Living and working at Lwala taught me a different way of thinking about medicine, in an environment so different from a large American academic health center. Learning opportunities like that require full immersion in the community. It was an integral and invaluable part of my medical training.” -Jennifer Grasch, 2016

Video reflections: Mohammed Shwetar | Sarah Heerboth | Kaitie Geck (hear about how Kaitie & Sarah combined an ISC with a research immersion project!)