Kapsowar Hospital

Kapsowar, Kenya

Hospital Website
Mission Organization
African Inland Mission (AIM)
Minimum Time Requirement
Three-week minimum for specialty service in anesthesiology, CRNA, dentistry, emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, neonatology, nurse practitioner, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatrics, pharmacy, physicians' assistants, radiology, and urology.

Kapsowar is a small, district-level hospital that provides the majority of medical care to this remote region of northwestern Kenya. The 126-bed, multi-building hospital provides facilities for maternity, pediatric, medical, and surgical care. Mobile maternal and child health clinics travel to three centers up to 90 km (56 miles) away. Four dispensaries provide simple healthcare for the local people. The hospital has approximately 4,000 inpatient admissions and 15,000 outpatient visits per year.

The most common inpatient diagnoses for children under 12 are pneumonia, malaria, gastrointestinal infections, meningitis, and injuries/fractures. For female (excluding maternity), the most common were pelvic diseases, malaria, all types of infections, thyroid diseases, psychological illness, and parasitic diseases. The most common male diagnoses were malaria, injury/fractures, pneumonia and other infections, parasitic diseases and other GI complaints, and carcinoma. Most of Kapsowar’s emergencies are obstetrical in nature. The hospital delivers approximately 300 babies per month with an approximate 40 percent C-section rate. Other emergency situations involve trauma, pelvic bleeding, intestinal obstruction, and peritonitis.

Major surgeries (about 150–160 per month) include thyroidectomies, tonsillectomies, vagotomies, pyloroplasties, chronic osteomyelitis amputations, hysterectomies, tubal ligations, and C-sections. Eye surgeries are also performed on a quarterly basis by a visiting Kenyan ophthalmologist. Kapsowar's eye program sees around 2,000 patients annually. Minor surgeries (about 80 per month) include fractures, abscesses, I&D's, D&C's, circumcisions, debridement, and laceration repairs. Trauma is fairly common due to arguments exacerbated by alcohol. At any given time, approximately 15-25 percent of the patients in our wards are HIV-positive. There is minimal trauma from road accidents because traffic is sparse. The hospital has an X-ray department, laboratory, and pharmacy.

Fly by commercial airline to Nairobi. From Nairobi you will take an in-country flight to Eldoret. From Eldoret you will be taken by hospital staff to Kapsowar, an approximately two-hour drive.
Time Difference
GMT+2 (+7 hours daylight saving time, + 8 hours Eastern Standard Time)
Kapsowar Hospital is located in a remote area of northwestern Kenya about 60 miles from the Uganda border. Specifically, it sits at the edge of a small village within the Marakwat District of the North Rift Valley Region. It is situated on the eastern edge of the Cherangani Hills overlooking the Kerio Valley.
The Marakwet are part of the Kalenjin family of tribes—Nilots who descended from Sudan many years ago. The Marakwet District has a population of 200,000 with about 10,000 people living within the larger Kapsowar area. About 60 percent of the Marakwet live in the highlands while the other 40 percent live in the Kerio Valley below. The highlands Marakwet are primarily agricultural (maize) while the valleys Marakwet are pastoralists. The Marakwet are soft-spoken, somewhat shy, and very friendly to the missionaries.
While English and Swahili are understood/spoken by younger Kenyans who have received an education, the older Marakwet tend to speak exclusively in Kalenjin. All hospital staff are required to be proficient in English. The Kenyan staff is available for English translation when communicating with patients. Medical records are kept in English.
There is a high percentage of Christians in Kapsowar with many different denominations represented. The Africa Inland Church is the largest Protestant denomination in the area. There is a large Catholic presence as well. In recent years, Muslims have made some inroads into Kapsowar.
Although Kapsowar is near the equator, because of its elevation (approximately 7,400 ft or 2,250 m) the weather is mild and pleasant year round. The temperature ranges between 60F–80F (15C–27C) during the day, but can get as low as 50°F (10°C) at night. The heavy rains come April–June while the light rains fall September–November. The rains tend to fall mostly in the late evening/night time, making it sunny on most days.
Volunteers are lodged in single-family houses or duplexes on the hospital compound. During particularly busy times visitors will be housed with missionaries or be given a housemate. Almost all the houses are brick and mortar with a living room, kitchen (with stove, oven, and refrigerator), bathrooms (with flush toilets and showers/bathtubs), 1–3 bedrooms, electricity, and hot/cold running water.
The hospital does not provide meals, so food shopping and meal preparation are individual responsibilities. Basic food items can be found in Kapsowar's markets. Prepackaged items such as breakfast cereal, canned goods, long-life milk, and frozen meats are available in the town of Eldoret, which is 52 miles (85 km) away. Shampoo and other toiletries, diapers (nappies), and many other items that cater to expatriates are obtainable in Eldoret and Nairobi.
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