IHOP: Kenya

Students work in the capital of Nairobi. In Nairobi, students work at the University of Nairobi and affiliated Kenyatta National Hospital, the Pumwani Maternity Hospital, and various other clinics. Students also participate in ongoing studies in Nairobi.To learn more about health issues in Kenya you may want to review some of these papers. To view photos of prior IHOP students who have worked in Kenya, click here.

Foreign Language

No foreign language is required, but knowledge of Swahili is helpful. English is spoken in most health care settings, and translators are available to help.

Required Activities

  1. Ten weeks in Nairobi or Mombasa, Kenya.
  2. Attendance at IHOP orientation is required, March 18-19, 2006
  3. IHOP project: Students should identify a community education project with which they may volunteer while on-site in Kenya. Students can arrange this by discussing this with site faculty and UW mentor, Dr. Carey Farquhar toidentify what ongoing community work is being done in the area. Students have the option of completing a III-2 at this site.
  4. Poster: present research at Medical Student poster session in September. These posters will be seen by the incoming class of first year students, and to promote international health work at UWSOM.
  5. Poster presentation for members of the Puget Sound Partners for Global Health upon your return to the United States.
  6. 5-10 digital photos of yourself with patients and staff on site. Be sure to ask permission from patients and staff before taking any photos.
  7. Complete and turn in your activities diary, Evaluation form, receipts and Expense Report form and receipts to Daren Wade, Program Manager, Health Sciences Global Training Resource Center, C-314 Health Sciences Building, Box 356355, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.

Clinical Activities

Students may chose to spend time in local clinics and hospitals shadowing the health care staff.


Visas are required for travel to Kenya. Evidence of yellow fever immunization may be requested. Tourist visas require 1 application form, 2 photos, return/onward ticket and $50 fee (money order or cashier's check only). Multiple-entry visas can be obtained for a $100 fee. The airport departure tax is $20. (For more information, see the U. S. State Department or the Embassy of Kenya, 2249 R St., NW, Washington, DC 20008, Tel. (202) 387-6101.) There are many flights available to Kenya, with stops in Europe.


Students will live together in an apartment in Nairobi that will be arranged by Site team. Apartments will be equipped with hot water, electricity and access to kitchen facilities.


Safety is a big problem in Nairobi. It is not safe to walk around at night. Do not travel alone. Theft is the most common problem but there is also violent crime, so one has to be very cautious and street savvy.

You will not be provided with protective TB masks at the hospital. It is important that you bring your own NIOSH-certified particulate filter respirator. A list of NIOSH-approved N95 disposable particulate respirators (including supplier/manufacturer and contact numbers) may be found here.

Traffic accidents are the major cause of injury or death for students in overseas programs. Read more about how to protect yourself at the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) website. The ASIRT has compiled Road Travel Reports for 150+ countries. You can order copies of these reports at no charge. The U. S. State Department also provides safety suggestions. Finally, you may find this recent article in the New York Times helpful.


You are required to purchase all items outlined in the budget. You must bring with you needlestick prophylaxis and other listed supplies. This is NOT optional.

This budget is approximate. We have done our best to estimate the costs students might incur. If your costs exceed the stipend you are given, these costs will be your responsibility to cover. If you underspend the budget allocated for a particular item, you may apply the excess funds to any other item in the budget except food. The amount allocated for food is not intended to cover all your food expenses.


Airline tickets : Council Travel, Expedia

Ground transport: transportation to and from airport is included in travel budget.

Visa: A visa is required for travel to Kenya. See the United States State Department or the Embassy of Kenya for more information.

Travel insurance: You must obtain the Extra Protection Plan from Cultural Insurance Services International.

This is a token amount. You are expected to pay for your own food expenses.

Please make an appointment with your own PCP or Hall Health Travel Clinic to obtain the following items/appointments:

physical exam, travel consultation, vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis (3-day regimen).

Latex gloves, goggles, NIOSH-certified particulate filter respirator, instant hand sanitizer (e.g. Purell).















Other helpful tips

- Try to learn Swahili!
- If possible, bring a laptop (you'll need an adaptor).
- It is difficult to track down journal articles on site, so try to do all your literature searches/reviews prior to leaving for Kenya.
- Buy a money belt or someway of keeping money and passport inside your clothes.
- Bring good sturdy shoes as the "sidewalks" are dusty and rocky.
- People wear very nice clothes and take a lot of pride in their appearance; you should plan on wearing nice clothes to work. Women wear dresses or slacks and a blouse. Men wear dress shirts and slacks and often ties.
- Religion is a big part of Kenyan culture, and you will probably be asked what religion you practice.
- Restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa are about as expensive as restaurants in the U. S. Kenyans eat a lot of meat so it may be somewhat difficult (but not impossible) to maintain a vegetarian diet.

Past projects students have been involved in:

Some of the research-related activities in which prior IHOP students have participated include:
- writing study protocol
- creating questionnaires in an electronic scanning program
- conducting interviews with patients to pilot test a questionnaire
- conducting in-depth interviews with project staff to obtain qualitative data
- helped determine training and staff requirements for a clinical trial
- performing statistical analysis on existing data
- drafting publishable manuscripts

Some of the clinical activities in which prior IHOP students have participated include:
- H&PE (including pelvic exam)
- participating in ward rounds at Kenyatta Hospital
- working in the city council clinics
- visiting district hospital
- performing deliveries
- assisting in C-sections
- repairing episiotomies
- observing surgeries
- phlebotomy
- administering intramuscular injections