Teaching Global Health in Kenya

This spring I have been given the opportunity to experience how Action Aid teaches Global Health to Metropol students in Kenya.

When we teach global health in Denmark we often refer to health in the southern hemisphere and talk about double burden, malnourished children, lack of resources, expensive health care paid at point of treatment, high infant/child and maternal mortality rate etc. When teaching global health in Kenya – we no longer just talk about it… Here you experience it first-hand!

Instead of just talking about cultural beliefs, traditions and customs – we get to meet with the local Medicine Man, Circumciser, Traditional Birth Attendant and Community Health Worker. Instead of just showing the structure of the Kenyan health care system on a PP – we are taken to different health care facilities: a small private hospital, a big governmental hospital, a health clinic in the slums and different MSF clinics. Instead of just explaining the great difference between rich and poor – we are taken to the informal settlements in Nairobi to get a real sense of how some people are struggling to maintain life for themselves and their families. Finally, this global health course is structured in a way, so we get to experience life in both rural (Nanyuki) and urban (Nairobi) areas of Kenya. But most importantly, everybody we meet is so open and honest to discuss anything and everything – even though it often takes a few try before the spoiled Danes really understand =)

The participants at the MS Global Health course visits the UN Headquarter in Nairobi.
The participants at the MS Global Health course visits the UN Headquarter in Nairobi.

No doubt that the students on this course get a unique insight to global health from a Kenyan perspective. One driver told me: “You Danes look so innocent and fragile.” However, I am pretty sure that those brave students who participated in this course might still look fragile on the outside, but on the inside they have toughened up!

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This post was written by Susanne Stilling

My name is Susanne Stilling and I am an assistant lecturer at GNH. I consider myself to be a global health professional as, I graduated from GNH with the first batch in 2010 and in 20012 I graduated from UCL with a Master’s degree in Global Health and Development. I have worked as a global health professional in Nepal, South Africa, Greenland and Denmark mainly focusing on prevention of malnutrition, smoking and suicides. But now I am happy to be back to share my experience and knowledge with the students at GNH =)

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