So it seems being a nurse here in the Mara is very different than it is back in the states. The health system and hospitals here and availability for procedures, care, and work is also quite limited. African Mission Services (where I am volunteering) has a clinic just six miles away from Mara West Camp and that is where I will be working most of the time.
Nurses here are quite advanced I would say in the care they can provide because they often work without a doctor's aid or orders. For example, nurses here deliver babies, choose drugs, put in IUD's, and make complex medical decisions even without a doctor's input.
Unfortunately, this means I have so much to learn medically in order to catch up! And while I am excited bout learning how to deliver babies, I find the process and things I need to learn quite overwhelming. I wish I had some L&D experience back in the states. But because I don't, I need to start reading and studying as well as get L&D materials. I haven't delivered a baby yet.. because I have been at mobile clinics this week with the Advent health short term group. But the nurses told me, soon- very soon- I would get to deliver a baby.
So far the short term group has done 4 mobile clinic days. And I have been working the pharmacy station at most of those clinics. We have seen some burns, wounds, coughs, and I actually got to remove flies from this little babies ear. One sad thing here is that many of the little children have skin infections, especially on their heads from the flies. There is also a more complex medical issue here with the Masai called female genital mutation (FGM).
FGM is illegal in Kenya but is still being practiced largely in the Masai people (the community where I am working) due to culture and tradition and pressure to get married. FGM is when around the ages of 12-14 girls get their clitoris "cut"off so that they can get married often to older men. The problem is that this procedure is often done involuntarily, in an environment that is not sterile. Females have many side effects and infection risks as well as pain and dangerous pregnancies after the procedure.
Read more here: http://www.irinnews.org/news/2005/03/08/fgm-among-maasai-community-kenya as well as read my blog about Masai culture for more information.
Other high risk medical issues here in the Masai Mara include tuberculosis, HIV, Malaria, tetanus, and typhoid fever. I saw the sweetest one year old baby in the clinic with malaria. I really hope that being here, I will be able to help take care of some mothers, babies, and kids with some of these issues.