We have made it through week three of our time in Kisumu, Kenya! The weeks are truly flying by because our research is progressing, and we are enjoying our time in the city. The other SRT students and I officially started our workflow analysis observations at each of the six clinics this past week. There are three intervention clinics, at which community health volunteers (CHVs) display an educational video about human-papillomavirus (HPV) self-screening, and three control clinics, where CHVs provide health education talks about HPV and offer the self-screening. Through our observations so far, it is clear that all the CHVs are quick learning, adaptable, and passionate about increasing HPV screening for women in Kisumu! We have enjoyed our first week of observations because of all the positive aspects we have seen with our study. Fortunately, many women are opting into HPV self-screening, and we are able to increase prevention of cervical cancer in many of the Kisumu sub-counties! We could not be doing what we are without the help of our local partners in the Duke Center for Reproductive Health, especially Jeniffer, who works with us daily at each of the clinics! Our team is excited to continue our workflow analysis observations and to start recruiting women to be part of our focus group discussions, in which we will discuss their experiences with the educational information and self-screening.
With five weeks left in Kisumu, we are not only eager to see where our research takes us, we are also eager to see more of the city! Over the past two weeks, we have walked around the town Milimani, where we are staying in Kisumu, but we have also visited Kakamega and Maasai Mara! Kakamega is home to the only rainforest left in Kisumu, and it is full of exotic birds, plants, and lots of monkeys. We were lucky enough to hike the rainforest with a tour guide and see the highest point of the forest, the whirling river rapids, and the home of many monkey clans. It was incredible to be able to see this preserved side of Kisumu. In addition to the Kakamega rainforest, we traveled to Maasai Mara National Park for safari. Through a travel company based in Kisumu, we were able to drive out to the park and spend the weekend observing multiple species of animals in their natural habitat. We saw lions, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, and my personal favorite – elephants, in addition to many other species native to the land. It was an eye-opening experience to see how so many different breeds of animals interacted with one another and shared their land.
Overall, our time in Kisumu, Kenya has been off to a great start, and we are looking forward to the next few weeks of research and exploration!