It is impressive how our health sector has improved over the years, i admit that we are not perfect as a country and we are definitely not there yet. As a country we have struggled with major socio-economic and health challenges since the independent 1963. Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya. However, the significant improvement is very impressive compared to where we were a s a country a few years ago. The health sector involves or rather consists of companies that provide medical services, manufacture medical equipment or drugs, provide medical insurance, or otherwise facilitate the provision of health care to patients. We are coming from a time where most health care facilities in Kenya are below international standards with limited resources, and limited capabilities. Public hospitals are understaffed, poorly equipped and lack supplies. Private clinics with limited inpatient capability are in operation in Nairobi, Mombasa, and the beach resort areas of Diani and Malindi. These services include radiology, laboratory and pharmacy services. The private AGA Khan hospital, located in Nairobi, is operating at western standard level of care.
The Government of Kenya has been trying to build a health system which can effectively provide quality health services to the population of the country. In our country Kenya, services are provided through a network of over 5,000 health facilities countrywide. The country spends 5.1% of its GDP on health support.The Kenyan health system currently consists of three main categories of service providers. Public providers, Private not-for-profit organizations (including faith-based and mission hospitals, local and international NGOs) and Private for-profit health care providers.
Public health services in the country are organised across 8 provinces, in 6 levels of care: Community health units, Dispensaries, Health centres, District hospitals, Provincial referral hospitals, and National Tertiary hospitals. Public health care providers serve the majority of the population, and are focussed on addressing public health disease burden. The government operates 41% of health facilities, NGOs run 15%.
The Private sector operates 43% of health centres, and is becoming more prominent. Private clinics of varying complexity exist in most major urban centres, including the coastal beach resort towns. Private hospitals for inpatient care exist mainly in Nairobi, with a few options in Mombasa.
Today in Kenya, travelers who come from countries where Yellow Fever is prevalent are required to carry certificates of vaccination against Yellow Fever in order to enter the country. According to the WHO, malaria is a risk which exists throughout the whole country, all year round. Diseases like malaria is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is estimated that about 732,000 deaths of world among children under-5 is due to malaria, among them Africa accounts 16% .
Kenya adopted a new National Malaria Strategy (NMS) in 2001, which emphasized the distribution of insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) for short in line and recommended selective indoor residual spraying (IRS) for epidemic control and prompt treatment, and prophylactic treatment. Kenya is working towards achieving the Abuja targets of 80% ITN coverage. Malaria has been eradicated from most of the countries of the world, but it remains threats to many people of Africa. About 80% of the world’s malaria cases and 90% of malaria-related deaths occur in SSA. In 2010, there were 174 million estimated cases of malaria on the African and about 600,000 deaths are recorded. In Kenya about 70% of the population is at risk from malaria, which kills an estimated 34,000 children under-5 each year.
The steps that the country is making in order to improve our health sector is definitely a big deal towards improving and providing proper and exceptional health services