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.
Clean water is vital for a healthy population. In Malawi, 80% of the population has access to an improved source of drinking water, but that leaves about 4 million people who still lack access to safe water. Additionally, only six percent of the population has access to an improved sanitation facility. Poor sanitation practices and improper storage of drinking water commonly lead to waterborne illnesses such as cholera.
The Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program is a Title II USAID Food For Peace funded five-year $80.7 million integrated food security program. The program started in July 2009 and will end in June 2014. This initiative aims to reduce food insecurity of 215,000 vulnerable households in 39 traditional authorities in eight most food insecure districts in Southern Malawi.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in Malawi. In 2013, 20,335 new and relapse cases and 1,400 deaths were reported in Malawi. The World Health Organization estimates that only 78% of TB cases are diagnosed in Malawi.
USAID partners with the Government of Malawi (GOM) to increase the country’s capacity to undertake and sustain uninterrupted supply of life-saving health commodities at the facility and community levels
Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children under five in Malawi. There are approximately five million episodes of malaria per year. It is endemic in 95% of the country, with 98% of infections due to Plasmodium falciparum, the most severe form of the four human malarial species. The Ministry of Health (MOH) estimates that malaria accounts for 34% of all outpatient visits and 40% of all hospital admissions among children under five. Four out of ten hospital deaths are reported to be due to malaria.
Nutrition remains a serious health and development problem in Malawi. While stunting and underweight rates decreased markedly from 2004 to 2010 (from 53% to 47% and 17% to 14% respectively), the rates remain high and are a reflection of chronic shortages in food quantity and quality. USAID’s programs therefore focus on preventing chronic under-nutrition. As a lynchpin across various U.S. Government initiatives, nutrition programs are funded through multiple sources.
USAID’s global Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) goal is ending preventable child and maternal deaths in a generation. USAID integrates evidence-based MNCH practices into activities in households, communities, and health facilities, and works with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to incorporate an MNCH focus into district and central level health activities.
Last updated: October 31, 2014