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Health, Population and Nutrition

Kenya health
USAID programs improve maternal and child health in areas hard hit by HIV and malaria
Michael Gebremedhin/USAID


USAID supports the health sector in Kenya with high-impact, evidence based interventions, focused at the county level following the devolution of health sector management and service delivery to 47 new counties. USAID works with the Government of Kenya, civil society, faith-based organizations and the private sector on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care; family planning and reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; malaria prevention and control; and tuberculosis control and treatment. Interventions include technical assistance at the county and national levels to support health service delivery; training of healthcare professionals; procurement and management of health commodities; health communication and marketing; human resources for health; health financing; and health information management. 


Strengthening Health Systems 

USAID works with the Government of Kenya to build a strong health system responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities. 
To strengthen health systems, USAID supports improvements in the health workforce; the health information system; supply chain management; financing; and leadership and governance. A comprehensive strategy to strengthen all cadres of health workers is being implemented focusing on the inter-related elements of recruitment, retention, training and supervision. USAID is also making significant investments to improve the supply chain management for HIV, malaria and family planning commodities. In the area of health financing, support is being provided to strengthen program planning and budgeting at both the national and county levels, with an emphasis on domestic resource mobilization aimed at creating a more sustainable health sector. In addition USAID and other donors support the Government of Kenya to improve the collection, verification and use of health data at all levels. 

Towards an AIDS-Free Generation

USAID works through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in close partnership with the Government of Kenya. PEPFAR, launched in 2003, represents one of the largest U.S. Government investments in HIV globally, and has enabled Kenyans living with HIV to access the treatment and care they need while also gaining the knowledge to eliminate the spread of the disease from mother-to-child and partner-to-partner. As a result of USAID’s and its fellow U.S. Government agencies’ efforts, Kenyans have increased access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services with over 905,969 people on anti-retroviral therapy by the end of 2015 and with more Kenyans than ever before being tested for HIV. USAID’s care and support program focuses on HIV palliative care; orphans and vulnerable children; nutrition; home-based care; and TB/HIV services to ensure a continuum of care for HIV affected individuals. 

Reducing the Burden of Malaria

Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya. Kenya is a focus country in the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which supports USAID and other key U.S. Government partners, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, to expand malaria prevention and treatment measures. Since the launch of PMI in 2008, the U.S. Government has invested more than $221 million to support malaria prevention, control and treatment services in Kenya. In FY 2015, through the President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID procured 3.8 million nets for mass distribution in 23 endemic and epidemic counties, distributing 1.3million through antenatal clinics. A further 1,882,233 were distributed through the routine distribution system to health facilities and 244,800 through mass distribution in the ongoing campaigns. PMI procured 7,241,160 doses of malaria treatment and supported the distribution of 10,350,990 doses to 5,000 health facilities.

Ending Preventable Maternal and Child Deaths

USAID partners with the Government of Kenya at the national and county levels to address and combat the main causes of maternal and child deaths. Toward this end, activities are focused on the continuum of care, including antenatal care; skilled birth attendance; essential newborn care; and post-partum care. Both community and facility initiatives are being used to support increasing the uptake of these interventions. Prevention and management of common childhood illnesses at the community level support the Government of Kenya’s strategy aimed at attaining universal coverage of cost-effective child survival interventions. USAID also promotes uptake of vitamin A, oral rehydration salts and zinc; immunizations; and prevention and management of diarrhea through household hygiene and sanitation promotion as well as water quality interventions. USAID support also promotes good nutritional practices, including exclusive breast feeding, community management of acute malnutrition and inpatient therapeutic management of severe malnutrition. 
In FY 2015, USAID continued to scale up emergency obstetric and neonatal care in 17 counties, increasing the number of facilities offering the entire package to 292, which exceeds the target by 90 percent. USAID also renovated over 100 maternity units in 11 counties to improve the quality of maternal and newborn services. Creating more space and improving privacy contributed to more mothers choosing to deliver in facilities. USAID also procured maternal and neonatal equipment for 1,300 health facilities.

Family Planning

USAID has supported voluntary family planning in Kenya for over 30 years, prioritizing the increase of quality, access and utilization of services. USAID’s programs increase access to contraceptives to those that seek them as well as strengthen the supervision and skills of providers.  The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS), released during FY 2015, highlighted Kenya’s success in increasing contraceptive use from 46 percent in 2008-09 to 58 percent. The Total Fertility Rate is now 3.9 births per woman compared to 4.6 in 2008. Approximately 71 percent of the total demand for family planning (FP) is met by using modern methods, bringing Kenya close to the Global 2020 initiative target.

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Last updated: November 17, 2016

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