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Health when staying in Kenya for 3months? Watch

    • Thread Starter

    I've recently been matched to a VSO ICS volunteering placement in Kenya.
    However I'm kinda worried about risk of getting bad diseases etc when staying for an extended period in very basic living conditions (some semi permanent houses made of timber) in a country with high risk of malaria etc.
    Has anyone had any experience staying somewhere similar? if so should I be worried or not?

    Congratulations on getting the placement. How did you get it?

    I stayed in a rural village in Tanzania for 8 weeks recently and have other similar travel experience.

    There are lots of online travel advice sites. You should read at least 2. Some of them will leave you carrying quite a pharmacy, others less so. You will have to decide what you need and what you don't depending on where you are going. Do you have much travel experience? Below is a skeleton summary based on my experience.

    You need to take malaria prophylaxis regularly. If you don't miss doses you should be almost entirely protected. This is the disease most likely to kill you, normally because people don't take their pills.

    But malaria is not the only mosquito bourne disease. Avoiding bites, with repellant, nets and avoidance of bad times (twilight) is vital.

    Be careful of scorpions and snakes, depending on your region. The night belongs to snakes. Don't go out at night without a torch.

    Know your escape routes. Where is the nearest hospital? How will you get there? Will you need to phone someone? How will you do that? Preparation is key.

    Police cover may be non-existent so don't annoy people and don't take silly risks e.g. getting hammered in an unfamiliar place etc

    Be careful who you have sex with. Preferably abstain.

    Seek help early, even if it's months after you return.

    All risks are significantly amplified if you're in the jungle. Just take extra care if that's the case.

    In some areas nutrition can be an issue. You will be better placed than locals in sourcing a balanced diet, however.

    That's about all I wanted to emphasise but like I say: do some googling. If there is significant risk where you're going then properly preparing could prevent disaster.

    And most important of all: enjoy the experience.

    you just need to be careful and sensible

    speak to your GP practice's travel clinic about what vaccinations you may need (I think yellow fever for kenya? possibly rabies?) and make sure you get those booked in, you'll have to take malaria pills as someone else said - it's worth paying for more expensive brands, I knew lots of people who got side effects from the cheaper ones

    generally just exercise common sense, avoid super risky activities, don't wander round alone, keep cash hidden/safe, speak to people organising your placement about where is safe/not safe to go and make sure you have comprehensive health cover on your travel insurance

    I'd keep an eye on here:


    "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to
    • areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
    • Garissa County
    • the Eastleigh area of Nairobi
    • Lamu County and those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself
    • within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river
    The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel does not include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies; including the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo, nor does it include the beach resorts of Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu and Diani. Mombasa airport (Moi International Airport) and Malindi airport are not included in the area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel.

    You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. To minimise time spent queuing at the airport, get a visa before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. For other types of visa, apply at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy. For more information on different types of visas see the website of the Kenya High Commission.

    There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. There have been a number of attacks in Kenya in recent years, particularly in Mandera County and other areas close to the Somali border. There is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks in Nairobi and the coast and resort areas of Mombasa and Malindi. See Terrorism.In May and June 2016 political protests in Kisumu turned violent. Further political protests in Nairobi, Kisumu and other parts of Kenya may occur in the lead up to August 2017 elections. You should take care in public places where people gather, and exercise a heightened level of vigilance. Monitor local and international media and keep up to date with this travel advice bysubscribing to email alerts.

    There are frequent incidents of violent crime including mugging, armed robbery and carjacking, particularly in the large cities. See Crime

    There is a threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel

    117,000 British residents visited Kenya in 2014. Most visits are trouble-free.

    The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel."
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