Kenya

Kenya has fantastic wildlife reserves
Kenya has fantastic wildlife reserves

Kenya is the place to visit to observe spectacular landscapes and close up encounters with rare animals species. Hell's Gate National Park and Maasai Mara, a nature reserve, provide some of the most interesting natural attractions on display in Africa.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to several areas of Kenya, including areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, the Garissa District and the Eastleigh area of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Researching the safety and security guidelines of your planned destination in Kenya is essential prior to booking your trip.

Flying to Kenya

The only viable method of transport to Kenya from the United Kingdom is by airplane. Otherwise your options may be limited to a six-day car ride, or a similarly long trip using ferries.

Flying from London to Nairobi, on average, will take around 10 hours, although this is dependent on the length of stops your airline makes.

If you are unsure as to how to manage your medication while in the air or upon landing then you should discuss a plan with your diabetic specialist.

Time difference

The time difference in Kenya is two hours ahead of British Summer Time and three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which should not see you need to alter your diabetes management too drastically.

Extreme heat

It is possible that you will have to navigate the intense heat in Kenya when managing your diabetes, with the average temperature hovering around 20°C all year round.

This extreme heat can lead to enhanced insulin absorption and people who manage their diabetes with insulin should regularly check their blood sugar levels.

You could consider reducing your dosages if you are heading out into substantial heat, while it is essential to carry sugar on you at all times of the day if you are susceptible to hypoglycemia.

Currency

The currency used in Kenya is Kenyan Shilling, with very good rates available at money exchange services. Payment by credit or debit card is widely acceptable at most major establishments, but you may be charged for non cash-transactions..

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations to enter Kenya, however several are highly recommended. You should consult your doctor eight weeks prior to your departure in order to receive the vaccinations in time.

All travellers are recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A, polio and typhoid. Hepatitis A and typhoid can be contracted through contaminated food or water.

Polio, meanwhile, will be required if you were vaccinated as a child but have not had a polio booster as an adult, or if you were not completely vaccinated as a child and do not know your vaccination status.

If you plan to be in Kenya for more than four weeks, the Kenyan government may require you to show proof of polio vaccination when exiting the country.

Some travellers are also recommended to receive vaccinations for other diseases, including hepatitis B and rabies, which can be carried by dogs, bats and other mammals in Kenya.

You should also talk to your doctor about how to prevent the contraction of malaria while travelling. Your doctor may prescribe you medication before, during and after your stay and will advise you on what to do to avoid getting malaria.

Yellow fever is a risk in certain parts of Kenya, so it is recommended that travellers under the age of nine months should receive immunisation. The government of Kenya also require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled from a country with a risk of yellow fever.

Vaccination against meningitis is recommended for travellers planning to visit Kenya during its dry season of December–June, in which the disease is most common.

Getting access to medication

UK citizens with diabetes will not be entitled to any free medication services while in Kenya. Securing comprehensive medical insurance will be essential in order to obtain even basic treatment.

Blood and urine testing monitors are available from most pharmacies, while the number to call In case of an emergency is 999.

It is worth checking with the manufacturer of your meter in the UK if the particular equipment you require is available in Kenya beforehand and if it is sold under any different names.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Kenya, with U-100 syringes the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Diabetes associations

It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

The diabetic association of Kenya is Diabetes Kenya Association, which has been a member of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) since 1976. The address is:

  • Diabetes Kenya Association,
    Box 2370,
    Nairobi 00202,
    Kenya
    Telephone: +254-722-297071
    Email: K-diabass@yahoo.com

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Kenya? mmol/L
  • What language is spoken in Kenya? English (Kenya’s official language) and Swahili (Kenya’s national language) Will I need an international driving license when driving in Kenya? Yes
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Kenya? Most diet drinks that are available in the UK, such as Diet Pepsi, Fanta light and Sprite light
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