The Surgical unit has a permanent consultant surgeon and a medical officer of two years surgical experience. Dr Maina is the permanent Kenyan surgeon. He was a Mau Mau warrior before starting his medical training. My presence at the hospital allows him to take some well earned leave. In addition there are two Kenyan clinical officer interns [in rank they are between a doctor and a nurse having had a three year course]. The surgical team are responsible for instructing them. They are rotated every three months through the other major departments of the hospital, paediatrics, medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology. Clinical officers are trained to diagnose and treat the conditions that are very common in Kenya such as chest infections, malaria, simple injuries and to run a basic maternity service. This enables them to run clinics in outlying areas as well as being able to help with the clinical work in the hospital.
Last week two Danish medical students arrived who will work at the hospital for three months. During my last three times in Maua we have been enriched by such student’s presence and as they stay for three months and speak perfect English are a great help. It takes time to get over the great culture shock of a completely new environment and the numerous problems that this society will present them with. Most students only come for a maximum of six weeks which does not give them enough time to adjust to the new environment.
During the last week the hospital was bereft of senior doctors [due to important administrative work] and I was the only one present on the compound for a period. Fortunately there are some excellent medical officers who performed well so it was relatively easy. I am always aware though that one major road traffic accident [not that uncommon here] and we could have had many critical patients to deal with.