I had my first doctor’s appointment recently. Even though it was an appointment for a routine physical with a general practitioner, I was really nervous about it. It was my first time in a new health care system and I had no idea what to expect. Plus, with a new doctor, you just never know. Turns out, there was no need to be nervous at all.
Caveat: Yes, I know I am a lucky ex-pat with private health insurance and more resources at hand than most Kenyans. Yes, I know that what is a reasonable price for me is still expensive locally. This is merely my experience as compared to how things are in the U.S., where I was still lucky to have health insurance and access to quality medical care.
Before I go into the experience, I want to mention how I found this doctor (Dr. Linda Thorpe at Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi): Facebook. It gets better. I put out a question on GPs on the Nairobi Expat Social group on Facebook and essentially crowdsourced referrals. Dr. Thorpe got rave reviews and I knew I wanted to stick with Aga Khan. That is how I found and picked my doctor.
If you told me a year ago that this is how I would find my next doctor, I would have laughed in your face.
I got to Aga Khan easily enough (via a driver and there was very little traffic). I found the area she is in, the Family Medicine Centre. I was worried that it might be more of a clinic because I knew walk ins were welcome. I had made an appointment. Would they honor it? Or would I just wait and have it be first come first served?
I got there early just in case. I also figured that there would be tons of paper work, because, you know, I’m American and that’s how our health care system is. Wrong.
I was seen on time. I didn’t need the extra time for paper work. There was some but it was very little and very simple. I was a little worried for a second when they told me that they didn’t take my insurance and that I’d have to pay and then file on my own to get reimbursed.
The total cost for the doctor’s visit was 3,850 Kenyan Shillings, about US$38.50. I could swing that. (The insurance we have is through a Swiss company and we’ll see how the claims process goes. The form is pretty simple, so that’s a good sign. I’ll report back once we file the claim.)
Dr. Thorpe lived up to her rave reviews. She is smart, friendly, and has a great bedside manner. Bonus: she can also serve as my OBGYN.
No offense to her, but I hope I don’t have to see her much. If I do, I know I’ll be in excellent hands and at a world class facility.