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Global Health

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

USAID's health program in Kenya is one of the Agency's largest in the world. Kenya is a focus for the Global Health Initiative, and USAID’s work focuses on leadership, governance and capacity building of the Kenyan health system for greater sustainability. To reduce the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS nationwide, it integrates prevention and treatment of other diseases, especially malaria and tuberculosis, and improvements in maternal and child health, family planning and reproductive health. In addition, USAID is working to strengthen Kenya’s health system overall by improving policy, logistics, health-worker effectiveness, and monitoring and evaluation.

Health Systems Strengthening

To strengthen health systems, USAID supports improvements in health workforce, supply chain management, financing, 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 by the Ministries of Health at both national and regional levels. In leadership and governance, USAID and other donors will support the Government of Kenya to review and develop a revised Health Policy Framework.


USAID works through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya in close partnership with the Government of Kenya. USAID’s HIV/AIDS program supports a wide variety of activities for prevention, care, support and treatment in every province of the country. It includes testing and counseling and the management of strategic information among other interventions.

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; 490,000 people were on anti-retroviral therapy by the end of 2011. USAID also supports comprehensive, evidence-based prevention programs informed by rigorous analysis of Kenya’s AIDS epidemic. HIV prevention activities continue to promote safer behaviors among youth, for example, by delaying the age at which youth become sexually active and reducing the number of sexual partners.

Prevention activities are closely coordinated with counseling and testing activities. There are over 5,800 testing sites in Kenya targeted to the general population as well as groups who are most at risk. Both voluntary and healthcare worker-initiated counseling and testing programs are supported as part of this effort. 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.

Infectious Diseases

Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya and an estimated 34,000 children die from this disease every year. The President’s Malaria Initiative is doubling its resources for Kenya in 2010 and will continue to support four key interventions to prevent and treat malaria in the country: spraying with insecticides, providing insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets, buying and distributing lifesaving drugs, and treating pregnant women.

USAID’s support to the country’s fight against TB ensures that drugs are delivered to health facilities to expand and enhance the national treatment and detection strategy. This support has helped Kenya surpass the World Health Organization TB targets of detecting 70 percent of the total estimated number of cases and successfully treating 85 percent of patients.

Maternal and Child Health

USAID is contributing significantly to Kenya’s goal to reduce its child mortality and maternal mortality rates by 25 percent by 2012. Toward this end, activities are focused on antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, essential newborn care and post-partum care along the continuum of care. Both community and facility initiatives are being used to support increasing uptake of these interventions.

Prevention and management of common childhood illnesses at the community level support the Government of Kenya’s community strategy aimed at attaining universal coverage of cost-effective child survival interventions. USAID also promotes uptake of vitamin A, immunization, prevention and management of diarrhea through household hygiene and sanitation promotion as well as water quality interventions. The program is also increasing the use of oral rehydration salts and zinc.

USAID support also promotes good nutritional practices, including exclusive breast feeding, community management of acute malnutrition and inpatient therapeutic management of severe malnutrition.

Family Planning

USAID has supported voluntary family planning in Kenya for 30 years, prioritizing the increase of quality, access and utilization of services. In Kenya, one out of four women would like to plan or space births, but is not currently using family planning and reproductive health services. USAID’s programs increase access to contraceptives to those that seek them as well as strengthen the supervision and skills of providers.

Last updated: November 05, 2015

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