Kenya is the 9th largest African country with a GDP of $55.2 billion and an economy growth projected to accelerate from 4.9% in 2013 to 5.7% in 2014. The country has a great potential to be one of Africa’s success stories with a growing and youthful population, a dynamic private sector, a new constitution, and a pivotal role in East Africa.
While Kenya experiences economic growth, it continues to face a number of significant public health challenges: a high burden of communicable diseases, a woefully high maternal and infant mortality rate (360 women per 100,000 live births, and 48 children per 1,000 live births) and a critically shortage of physicians with just one doctor per 10,000 residents. Most physicians are clustered in Nairobi, a city of 3 million that represents only a tiny fraction of the country’s 44 million residents. According to 2012 estimates by the World Bank, approximately 62% of Kenya’s health care expenditures originate from the private sector, and of that spending, 76.9% are out of pocket payments, risking pushing the poor even further into poverty.As a result, Kenya has become a vibrant testing ground for health innovations. CHMI profiles 200 programs in Kenya- the second highest number programs in any one country in the database and the most of any African nation. These programs are using a variety of approaches and business models to address a wide swath of health issues: improving quality efficiency, lowering costs, and improving access to care for low-income populations in Kenya. Both the public and private sectors play an important role in health care delivery, and innovations in both sectors are proliferating to help address some of these challenges and work to expand access to quality care for more Kenyans.