Frequently Asked Questions
+ What does AMPATH stand for?
AMPATH stands for the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare. Our model is “academic” because we’re made up of 12+ universities and medical centers partnered together in a common mission.
Together, we’re helping people in Kenya respond to medical crises and community needs, as well as training Kenyan care leaders and medical systems that will last and can be replicated all over the world.
Read more about our work here.
+ What does AMPATH do?
The short story of what AMPATH does is that we help build health in Kenya that can be sustained for generations to come. But it’s so much more than that. We’re rooted in partnerships between academic institutions like Moi University in Kenya and Indiana University in North America, plus the Kenyan Government and the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
Together, we work to improve health care systems and access to them in Kenya. And since the needs of the Kenyan people go beyond care, so do we. We help provide the basic essentials like nutrition, safety, support, and jobs, so that Kenyans can become independent, both financially and socially.
Read more about our work here.
+ Where does AMPATH work?
We focus our efforts around Eldoret, Kenya in Africa. There, we contribute to more than 500 clinical sites and hospitals and work to meet all kinds of community needs, like nutrition, jobs, support, and personal growth.
Beyond Kenya, thousands of AMPATH partners work all over the world to make health care and life in general better for everyone. Kenyan medical students and residents train in North America and vice versa, and our research carries a global impact.
See more on where we work here.
+ Where can I find an AMPATH facility?
+ How can I prepare for my visit to Kenya?
We highly recommend that you read the book Walking Together Walking Far by Fran Quigley which describes the creation of AMPATH and its work through 2009. There are many good books about Kenyan culture and history such as It's Our Turn to Eat by Michaela Wrong or One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina.
Learning some Swahili can also be helpful. While many Kenyans us a tribal language in their home communities, they use Swahili and English in their everyday lives and work. Visitors to Kenya who use Swahili are often received with a warm welcome. It helps to learn basic greetings like Jambo (Hello, good day, how are you), Habari (How are things?), Kwaheri (Goodbye), and Asante (Thank you).
For medical students and residents, your consortium institution will have an orientation process. Detailed information for Indiana University travelers and others can be found in our Orientation Manual.
+ How long are study programs in Kenya?
Most training and exchange programs for medical students and residents last for eight to ten weeks. Students and residents get hands-on medical training at health facilities across Kenya (or at North American partner universities), get involved in the community, and gain life-changing experience.
Learn more about our training programs here.
+ What should I bring with me to Kenya? What should I not bring with me?
If you’re working with us or visiting us in Kenya, we’re happy to help you prepare. If you’re staying with us at IU House, we’ll provide essentials like towels, sheets, blankets and pillows. Laundry detergent is available for purchase. We’ll also provide your meals and security on the premises. (If you're a student, meals may be purchased and are not included in your IU House fee.)
You should pack plenty of layers of clothing for changing weather. We ask that all visitors dress in professional business attire when in hospital settings. If you are a physician, please bring a white medical coat.
Do NOT bring broken or expired medical equipment. Do not bring goods to donate unless there is a clear person accepting it in Kenya. In general, we do not recommend bringing valuables that cannot be replaced.
For more on visiting us, click here.
+ What is the food and water like in Eldoret?
Eldoret is a modern town with shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, banks, and all of the essentials. There are several restaurants in Eldoret, with everything from Indian to Irish to Italian and, of course, local Kenyan cuisine, with key elements like maize, rice, beans, curry, and vegetables.
No matter where you are in the world, some basic eating and drinking habits can help you avoid illness. Avoid tap water and drink bottled, purified water, which is readily available in Kenyan stores. Use your best judgment when choosing a place to eat. Restaurants with table service are generally a safer idea than street vendors.
If you’re staying with us at IU House, your daily meals will be prepared and provided for you at our dining room. You’ll also have access to a full pantry on site.
For more on IU House and visiting us, click here.
+ What is the weather like in Eldoret?
Because Kenya lies in the Southern hemisphere, the warmer months are generally October through March, and the cooler months are April through October. But temperatures remain fairly consistent year round.
In summer/warmer months, average temperature highs are in the upper 70s (Fahrenheit) and lows are in the 50s. In the winter/cooler months, highs are in the lower 70s and lows are in the 50s. The rainy season in Kenya spans from March to November, and humidity remains fairly low throughout the year.
+ What is the safety and security situation in Kenya and at IU House?
For safety information about Kenya, we recommend the U.S. State Department travel information.
When visiting or working with AMPATH in Kenya, you’re welcome to stay at IU House in Eldoret where safety and security are our highest priority. The compound is protected and guarded 24 hours a day.
+ What vaccines or health precautions do I need to prepare for a visit to Kenya?
Vaccination guidelines change regularly, so please confirm exactly which vaccinations you need with a medical provider at least 90 days before your trip to Kenya. Some vaccines are multi-dose and need to be spaced out over time, so being prepared will ensure you are finished vaccinating before your trip. Hepatisis A, Hepatisis B, Tdap, Typhoid, Meningitis and Yellow Fever are commonly encouraged vaccines you may need, plus malaria prophylaxis. A TB test is recommended 3 months after returning home. For IU-affiliated travelers, the IU Center for Global Health offers vaccinations at cost. Be sure to bring your vaccination card/records with you on your trip.
While in Kenya, you should use insect repellant when you’re outside, and a mesh net over your bed at night to protect against mosquitos. Your medical provider can recommend additional medications you might need to take before you go and/or bring with you. You should also use plenty of sunscreen throughout the day.
+ Can my partner, family, and/or friends visit me or accompany me to Kenya?
Yes, almost certainly! But it's best to plan ahead and get in touch with Ron Pettigrew, Director of Operations, as early as possible.
+ Can I volunteer with AMPATH?
There are no formal volunteer opportunities with AMPATH. In some special circumstances, interests can align to allow for volunteers projects.
+ Are there opportunities for undergraduate students or students outside the medical field?
Non-medical training opportunities do exist within AMPATH on a case-by-case basis, for example projects for engineering students.
At this time there are no opportunities for undergraduate college students to study with AMPATH. We encourage your interest in global health though, and would love to have you connect with one of our AMPATH partners in North America. Contact us to learn more.
+ I'm a Kenyan student or registrar who wants to study in North America with the AMPATH Consortium. Where can I find more information?
Exchange programs must initially be approved by Moi University. Ron Pettigrew, IU Center for Global Health Director of Operations, is then the primary contact for logistics like visas, housing and activities.