Mombasa is a city rich in history, however the majority of Kenyans regard it as the forgotten city. Visiting Fort Jesus today was a reminder of the colonial past full of violence due to competing foreign powers. Old Mombasa today, is made up of a patchwork of different cultures appearing to live in harmony with children playing in the street and in the harbour. Their excited cries to see the foreigners echo through the narrow alleyways as we passed through. We couldn’t help but notice all the bacteria infested waters and garbage they were playing in, detracting from this otherwise picturesque site. It was surprising that not only the children, but also all the people we encountered, seemed so happy and so friendly in such a state of limited resources and uncleanliness. Among the common global health issues found in developing countries, Mombasa’s main challenge is water, sanitization, and hygiene. Despite the ongoing improvements there is still a lot to be done. Could we solve these problems? Do we have adequate resources? Are we empowered enough? We think yes. If we combine our efforts as Global Health Systems leaders to find adequate solutions in a well-planned and well-structured manner, we could turn Mombasa back into the economic centre that it was in the past.
By: Jean Sauveur Uwitonze (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidate) and Kathleen Meszaros (Collaborative Program in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidate)