AMPATH, a partnership between Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Indiana University, and the Kenyan Government, serves to build holistic and sustainable health in Kenya and around the world. Rather than just providing an immediate treatment, the AMPATH model focuses on the underlying family, job, and education factors when treating patients. IUSD students travel to Moi University Dental School where they gain an immersive understanding of the AMPATH model and provide oral health screenings for children at various housing locations including orphanages and boarding schools for children with special needs such as being HIV positive or having developmental disabilities. This trip is also unique in that IUSD students are able to participate in hospital rounds at Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital, which serves as an exceptional inter-professional learning experience that exposes students to severe pathology and trauma cases seen at the hospital. Other distinct features of this trip include an introduction to Swahili language, and educational excursions to a Kenyan rainforest, a private game reserve, and salt lakes, all of which enable students to meet various tribe members, understand the Kenyan ecosystem, and learn about the Kenyan political climate.
“Our first week in Kenya has been an amazing experience absolutely packed with activities. After the full day of traveling from Indianapolis to Nairobi to Eldoret, we were warmly welcomed to the IU house. Our first clinical experience at the Tumaini Home was a great learning experience, as we were able to learn the history of the home and interact with the children. At Tumaini, I was able to screen the 1-3-year-old children, which was challenging but rewarding. We also were introduced to the Moi University staff and students this week, who have all been so kind and welcoming. I have really enjoyed interacting with the different classes of Moi students. Whether it be tours of the school or hospital, working side by side during screenings, or just chatting over tea, I think the IU and Moi students make an amazing team.
My experience at the Ilula School and Home was probably the most humbling experience I have ever had. After learning about the hardships, the albino children in Africa face, I just felt like I wish there was more that I could do to help them. I think our students did an amazing job in working with these children and even put some smiles on their beautiful faces. The Testimony School was another experience that left me feeling humble. While screening the children, I had no idea that the school was an orphanage as well. The children were all so bright, happy, kind, and loved.
I have learned that the people of Kenya are extremely kind, warm, and welcoming. Every person I have met usually greets me with a handshake and introduction. It seems as if everyone wants to make sure we are enjoying our stay in Kenya. Education is extremely different here than it is in the United States. We learned that students enter the Moi University School of Dentistry directly after class 12, which would be similar to us going to undergraduate school. The Moi program is also longer and in a different sequence, so it has been very fun to compare our curriculums. I really like how interactive the Moi program is in their learning experiences in the hospital and class setting.”