The situation

Lamu County is a remote area of east Kenya stretching across mainland and over 65 islands. Access to the islands is extremely limited, making it difficult to reach medical emergencies and for sick people to reach the hospital on the mainland.

Since 2014, Lamu County has been under threat of attack from militant group Al Shabaab in response to Kenya’s military intervention in nearby Somalia. The insecurity has had critical implications for the health system.

Recruiting and retaining medical staff in the region is extremely difficult, as those qualified are more likely to find work in Nairobi or Mombasa where they can earn more through private clinics, and where their families may feel safer and have better access to schools and work.

The dedicated staff at Lamu hospital are unable to provide the level of care usually available in a County Referral Hospital due to a lack of training. Some health staff, including those working in more remote areas, haven’t even received basic life support training. High quality donated equipment sits unused, sometimes broken, as medics often haven’t been taught how to use or maintain it.

Our work

Doctors of the World is working with the hospital to build the staff's knowledge and skills, designing a programme together that works towards a sustainable solution for Lamu.

We’re recruiting specialists in the UK who can deliver weekly online supervisions, supported by short coaching trips to Lamu where needed. We’re also investing in external training in Lamu for doctors and nurses who’ll then return to work in the hospital. We’re also supporting the financial cost of a medical coordinator for Safari Doctors, a local organisation that delivers health outreach clinics via boat to remote areas.

Together, these measures ensure that we can address both primary and secondary healthcare needs in Lamu.