A Unique Medical Experience
In The Heart Of

Assist and observe in busy hospitals & clinics across Nairobi

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  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From

Kenya Medical Experience

Embark on an eye-opening experience and expand your medical knowledge whilst on placement in hospitals and clinics located in the poorer suburbs of Nairobi.

Whether you are taking your elective placement in Kenya, already a trained professional or are just wanting to gain some medical experience, this is a unique chance to get an insight into how the Kenyan healthcare system runs and share knowledge with the local doctors and nurses.

During your programme you will get the chance to help in a range of different departments as well as encountering different illnesses that you may not come across in the UK such as HIV, TB and Malaria.

This unique experience will open your eyes to the world of medicine in a developing country and will provide you with vital international work experience that will set you apart from others. 


Who is it for?
Medical students, qualified professionals and volunteers with no experience
Example of some of the departments available
Maternity, ICU, ENT, Oncology and Gynecology, Dentistry, Orthopedics, Cardiology, Dermatology, Urology, Opticians, Physiotherapy, Neurology, Psychiatry, Dialysis, Surgery, X-ray and Radiology.
Suitable elective placements
Medical, midwifery, nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy
Background to the medical programme

Although Kenya’s economy is developing significantly, the country is still facing many setbacks in regards to healthcare.

High levels of poverty and a lack of government funding mean those from poorer backgrounds are at a disadvantage and therefore often go untreated. Inadequate staffing also poses issues with it being estimated that there is just 1.5 doctors per 10,000 people.

Difficult and life threatening diseases such as Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS also contribute to challenges within the healthcare system, although there have been some very positive advances on this recently. In the past couple of years Kenya became the third country to implement the world’s first malaria vaccine and the Kenyan Ministry of Health has announced that HIV cases are decreasing, however there is still a long way to go.

Volunteering in the poorer suburbs of Eastlands Nairobi, you will witness first hand the challenges these hospitals face and offer assistance where you can, gaining exposure in a very different medical setting.

Where will I be volunteering?

Radiant Hospital - Although originally founded in 1949, in 2010 this group of hospitals was taken over by a nurse who had a vision to deliver high quality, dependable and reasonably priced healthcare in the local community. This hospital has 5 branches and you will be volunteering at the busy Umoja branch. The hospital is one of the busiest in the areas, with a 52 bed capacity and around 135 outpatients a day.

The following departments are available - maternity, ICU, ENT, gynecology, dentistry, orthopedics, cardiology, dermatology, urology, opticians, physiotherapy, neurology, psychiatry, dialysis and surgery.

Phadam Hospital - Opened in 2018, this busy hospital receives around 100 outpatients a day. Their maternity ward is busiest with an average of 10 babies being delivered a day. There is also the option to assist and observe the surgery department - with the hospital completing around 5 surgeries a month. Other departments include ENT, orthopedic, oncology and gynecology.

Prudent Cottage hospital - Originally opened in 2009 in a smaller rented building, the hospital has grown with the community’s needs. 5 years ago, due to expansion, they moved to a larger building. The hospital currently receives around 150 inpatients and 1000 outpatients a month. Their biggest department is maternity, however other departments include - surgical, dental, x-ray, physiotherapy, child welfare, antenatal and radiology.

Mikulinzi community hospital - Opened in 2008, this hospital consists of 4 doctors and 6 nurses, all of which are committed to helping the local community. Often receiving national health insurance patients, this hospital works closely with the community and the main issues this hospital sees is malaria and pneumonia. With a 30 bed capacity, the hospital can offer the following departments - maternity, surgery, ultrasound and child- welfare.

What is my role?

Your role on the medical programme will be largely observational, however, you may be assigned some basic hands-on involvement. This could include taking blood pressure and sugar levels, administering IV injections, dressing wounds, taking temperatures etc. and will be undertaken under the supervision of a medical professional. Although we cannot guarantee this and it is at the sole discretion of your local supervisor, feedback from past volunteers suggests most students get involved with basic activities as listed above.

During your time in Kenya, you will discover new perspectives and cultural attitudes towards medicine, learn how to collaborate with people from a different culture and develop a range of new skills. You will gain hands on training, supervised by experienced English-speaking medical experts. This is your chance to vastly increase your own knowledge by being fully involved in the day-to-day activities of the hospital, observing the doctors and nurses and helping out in simple but practical ways.

You may encounter different scenarios that are not so common back at home, including dengue fever, rabies, snake bites and motorcycle accidents.

Our Kenya medical experience welcomes people from all backgrounds. So if you have just left school and are looking for experience to boost your university application (pre-med) or are currently a university student organising an elective placement overseas - this is the perfect programme for you.

We are able to offer a more specific programme for medical, midwifery and nursing students looking to take part in an overseas elective. We are able to tailor the programme to provide you with a unique experience that will meet all of your requirements and maximise your time abroad. Our UK and local teams are able to complete any necessary paperwork for your university or other scheme.

At each hospital, you will have the opportunity to be placed across several departments so that you can receive a broad overview (a full list can be found above). Our local team will do their best to match any specific requirements, but this cannot always be guaranteed. We recommend a mixed timetable in order to experience many different hospital settings.

You will be assigned to a local supervisor within each department to mentor you throughout your time there. However, it is important to understand that the local staff are extremely busy and you should be proactive in asking questions and be assertive in requesting additional guidance where needed.

What will a typical day look like? 

Your varied role and the ever-changing scenarios that come with a busy hospital will mean no two days are the same. You will generally be volunteering from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, but depending on your course requirements this can be increased if required. Throughout your time in the hospital there may be major surgeries or labours occurring and you will have the chance to stay longer and observe.

Depending on the hospital / department you may also be required to work different shifts throughout the day.

After volunteering, you will still have plenty of time to relax at the volunteer house or explore Nairobi.

Where will I be staying?

During your time in Nairobi you will have an authentic Kenyan experience whilst staying within one of two of our volunteer houses in the suburb of Buru Buru. Learn more about the culture and lifestyle in Nairobi, whilst living within a safe, gated community with the local team. 

Both of our volunteer houses are located within walking distance of each other, along with the main office, bus routes, shops and ATMs all being close by. You can spend your evenings exploring the vast and diverse capital, with the main city centre just a 25 minute ride away.

Other things to consider

Helping on multiple projects - Whilst in Kenya, you will have the opportunity to assist with all children, teaching and medical programmes as they are based within the same location.

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful country has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation and enjoy the bustling city but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Under the Kenya page on our website, you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to see as much of the country as possible during this time, travel with other volunteers and be accompanied by a dedicated tour guide, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

Level of involvement - Although your role at the hospitals is largely observational, the majority of volunteers are assigned basic hands-on tasks. Please note we cannot guarantee your level of hands-on involvement and this will be at the sole discretion of your supervisor in country and based on experience, duration and willingness to get involved.

Previous experience or qualifications - Although an advantage, no previous experience is required for our community programmes. As long as you bring lots of positive energy and are enthusiastic then your efforts and time will contribute massively to the school and local community. 

Resources and donations - Resources can be very limited on our programmes in Kenya and we would really appreciate any additional support that can be provided. It would be amazing if you could bring any materials associated with your project, including pens, paper, colouring books and anything else you think will aid your time on the programme. 

Medical Elective in Kenya

My volunteering time with TMR has been one of the best experiences in my life. They welcome you in Nairobi, introduce you to Kenya and organise your journey to your project location. They make sure that everything goes well during your stay and assist you with whatever you might need. If you are ... Read More

Daniel MoonDecember 2023