Medical Electives

PCEA Kikuyu Hospital offers opportunities to Medical Students who would like to work on voluntary basis in the Hospital.

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Please indicate the specific date, month and year you want to have your elective or placement so that reservations can be made on time. Remember to send an evaluation form from your University to be completed by PCEA Kikuyu Hospital when you are through with your elective term.


Missionaries of the Church of Scotland founded PCEA Kikuyu Hospital in 1908. Since 1956 the Presbyterian Church of East Africa has run the hospital. The hospital is a half hour drive to the north west of Nairobi, at Thogoto, and not far from Kikuyu town.

The general hospital has four main wards: male, female, paediatric, and maternity. In-patient numbers are usually around 100. Services also include: outpatients, maternal and child health, casualty (emergency room), a busy operating theatre, dental unit and an ART programme (dealing with HIV AIDS). The hospital also has an Eye Unit, which provides highly specialized ophthalmic care throughout East Africa. Also on site is an orthopaedic rehabilitation unit with an active surgical programme.

There is no free health care in Kenya. Government hospitals, supported by taxes, provide 50% of the countrys health services at a nominal fee. Between them the church hospitals provide 40% of health care, and have the reputation for providing good quality care at affordable prices. The remaining 10% is private for profit. Church hospitals are able to raise around a fifth of costs from donations, but otherwise patient fees account for the majority of income. As such Kikuyu relies heavily on both donors and volunteers in order to keep fees to a minimum.

The hospital medical staff on the general side is comprised of medical officers (SHO or resident equivalent), physician (internist), general surgeon, paediatrician, urologist, ENT specialist, gynaecologist and gastro-enterologist (most specialists are on part-time basis). The large majority of hospital staff of all cadres are Kenyans. Medical students are expected to join medical staff for all teaching and business meetings, and for daily ward rounds. In addition students are invited to morning prayers, to outpatient clinics, to casualty (ER), and to assist in the operating theatre (OR) etc. Students are strongly encouraged to assist with some weekend duties, when opportunities to be involved with patient care are greater as staffing levels are reduced.

Common conditions include: pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and diarrhoea diseases. In addition complications of diabetes, hypertension, and rheumatic fever are seen. Surgical cases include caesarian section, D&C, hysterectomy, large bowel surgery, prostatectomy etc. Orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures are, of course, routine in the other units.


Students are expected to respect the Christian tradition of the hospital, and local cultural standards. No smoking or alcohol is allowed in the hospital.

Dress standards in Kenya are conservative; students should bring a dress/skirt or shirt and tie for work in the wards. White coats must also be worn. Please note that washing is by hand, so suitable clothes should be brought. The hospital is at an altitude of almost 6000 feet. This reduces the risk of malaria, but means the weather can be cold. Warm sweaters or jackets are needed, especially during the coldest months of July and August. Nighttime temperatures can fall below 10 centigrade (50 Fahrenheit), even this near to the equator! During the rainy season paths can become very muddy, so strong shoes are essential. An umbrella is invaluable too (but could be bought locally).

Other items to bring include: a torch/flashlight, lightweight medical reference books (e.g. Oxford Handbook, Lecture Notes in Tropical Medicine, BNF or other drug prescription guide), books, games, radio or other evening entertainments. Students are advised to leave valuables at home, and to insure items such as cameras.

Minimum elective attachment is for a period of 6 weeks. Students are required to plan holiday travel and safaris outside of this time. Tourist visas are usually valid for 3 months, and extension is normally straightforward within Kenya.


Guest Wing

Full board for non-resident guests per day per head sharing 2 people per room (breakfast, lunch, supper and accommodation) Kshs.2350.00
Internet Access per week (with your own laptop) Kshs.500.00
Transport to and from Airport (Charges per km) Kshs.10,600.00
Clinical Placement (Nursing) Kshs. 5,000.00
Administrative fee (one-off cost) 100 U.S.$

Students will also be expected to meet all other personal costs such as telephone calls. It is usually not possible to make any reverse charges or collect calls.

The payment is made in advance (in full) in order to secure accommodation and it is advisable to confirm the dates early since these charges are bound to change due to currency fluctuations. The money is transferred telegraphically to:

Bank: Co-operative Bank, Kikuyu Branch, Kenya

Swift code: KCOOKENA

Account No.01128370842703

Account Name: PCEA Kikuyu Hospital.


The greatest health risk to expatriates is actually due to road traffic accidents. Visitors are advised to travel by daylight whenever possible, particularly if using public transport.

Students are recommended to seek the advice of a travel health physician prior to travel. Recommended vaccinations include: typhoid, hepatitis A and B, and yellow fever. Tetanus and diphtheria boosters should be given if required. Those planning extensive travel should also receive meningitis and rabies immunizations. Note that contact with open TB in the wards is likely. Students should have a previous BCG or be prepared for the risk of becoming Mantoux (PPD) positive (particularly students from USA).

Malaria prophylaxis should be commenced prior to travel and continued four weeks after return home. Recommended regimes include: weekly mefloquine, daily proguanil plus weekly chloroquine, or daily doxycycline.

Risk of HIV infection is small unless travellers engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Some students still choose to carry post-exposure prophylaxis. Note that these drugs are not available locally.

Otherwise, students should carry adequate supplies of any regular medications in their hand luggage to avoid inconvenience. Standby treatment for travelers diarrhea (e.g. ciprofloxacin) may be useful too.


The Chief Medical Officer
PCEA Kikuyu Hospital
PO BOX 45-00902
Tel: 254 20-2044765/6/7/8
Cell Phone: 254-722-207636, 254-733-606133

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