Tremendous progress has been made in malaria control in recent years. Widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, coupled with household spraying have helped large parts of the country become free from malaria. Nevertheless, malaria remains a leading cause of illness and death among children under 5. The burden of malaria also exacts a steep economic toll, with about 170 million working days lost due to malaria illness each year.
In Kenya, it is estimated that there are 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 1.1 million children who are orphans due to AIDS. As a whole, more than six percent of the population is infected with HIV, but the epidemic has hit specific regions and vulnerable groups much more seriously.
A strong, well-functioning and sustainable health system – capable of efficiently delivering and managing health care services – is vital to improving the health status of Kenyans. Health systems in Kenya are constrained by insufficient financial resources, a shortage and poor distribution of healthcare workers, weaknesses in legislation and information systems and a lack of management and other technical expertise. Accessing quality health services is especially difficult for women and youth.
Kenya has made incredible progress in reducing child deaths, with a 30 percent decline in child and infant mortality recorded between the last two Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2003 and 2008. Improvements in antenatal care, vaccinations, and malaria control have helped to drive these trends. At the same time, mothers and babies still face high risks during and around childbirth. The leading killers of children (pneumonia, diarrhea, AIDS, and malaria) are preventable and treatable, but the needed interventions often do not reach the poorest and most vulnerable.
USAID invests in population and health programs to improve the survival, well-being and productivity of the Kenyan population—especially for poor, marginalized and underserved communities. USAID partners with the Government of Kenya at the national and county levels to reduce the burden of major infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and address the main causes of maternal and child deaths.
Last updated: November 14, 2014