Healing the world: Kenya

By Selena Ross 

WASHINGTON — Here are facts and figures on the health challenges in Kenya and the aims of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Global Healthy Initiative to address the issues:


Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $576 million
FY 2010: $600 million

Total population: 41 million
GDP per capita: $783

HIV rate: 6.3 percent
Proportion of women who die in childbirth: 1 in 39

Major health concerns in the country:
1) HIV prevalence rates are still very high, although they have started to decline in recent years
2) Extremely high numbers of maternal and infant deaths
3) A high burden of tropical parasitic and bacterial infections

GHI’s main goals: Help the Kenyan government design a new health system based on preventive care, instead of disease-specific treatment; find cost savings in current programs; more than double the number of mothers who have access to a skilled birth attendant and to emergency obstetrical care

GHI on the ground: Some health problems that had been treated by specialists, including family planning, tuberculosis and HIV testing, are now being reintegrated into the caseload of health clinic workers, who can treat far more patients for less money. At the same time, more emergency obstetrical care facilities are planned and 7,000 nurses and community health workers will be hired to treat mothers and newborns.

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN; www.foreignassistance.gov)

Funding for this project is provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation as part of its U.S. Global Health Policy program.