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Medical Social Work In Kenya: Scope, Relevance, And Utility

The emergence and continued growth of the sub-field of medical social work implied that treatment is not only physiological but holistic. Indeed, it is through the combination of the various aspects that clients enter a complete state of healing and recovery. While medical social work in Kenya is mainly practiced in healthcare settings, its scope and relevance are rarely understood and appreciated. Moreover, its utility in psycho-social treatment is remotely seen as important for supplementing physiological management of health and illness. While medical social work may be utilized in understanding the emotional and psychosocial problems associated with health and illness, this is rarely the case in Kenya owing to its relegation compared to physiological treatment. Nonetheless, working in multidisciplinary teams, medical social workers help in devising specific intervention programmes that augment the quality of life of both clients and their caregivers. This paper uses secondary data to demystify the sub-field of medical social work by defining its scope, relevance, and utility with particular emphasis on Kenya. A particular effort is made to identify the specific practice settings and the expected outcomes of its application. Finally, conclusions are drawn about the future of the sub-field followed by recommendations to make it more relevant and responsive to the needs of its clients. Findings from this paper contribute greatly to the wider field of social work and medical social work in Kenya in particular.

Keywords: Medical social work, intervention, relevance, scope, utility


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