Swahili in Kenya


A hospital sign

The number for police and ambulance is 911; however, in a health emergency, the simplest solution is to immediately ask a Kenyan to call an ambulance. Although emergency numbers are readily available in phone booths, there is always the chance the telephone won't work. One can also ask a neighbor or stranger for a ride to the hospital in an emergency. In such a case, one would offer some kind of monetary gift after the ride.
A foreigner should always know about the neighborhood being visited, and use common sense about safety, especially in the cities. As in any crowded area, pickpockets can be a problem. One should be mindful that lively conversation is sometimes a tactic to distract a foreigner.

There are two kinds of health care in Kenya. Health care is predominantly public, whereby the individual pays a certain portion and, consistent with the notion of cost-sharing, the government subsidizes the rest. Private health care is quite costly and only for those able to afford extensive insurance policies.

For non-emergency health care, one can be seen by doctors at the hospital, at many neighborhood clinics, or in clinics at the malls. It takes longer if one is a walk-in, and it is recommended that one call ahead for an appointment. Healthcare in Kenya is both highly efficient and affordable.