Kenya is a developing country in the Eastern part of Africa. Lending institutions in Kenya range from local non-governmental organizations, through regional to international organizations. The Kenyan government supervises health activities through the Kenya’s ministry of health. The funding from the lending institutions goes a long way in helping the common citizens in the third world country. This paper examines the situation of health lending in Kenya, human capital and the utilization of the funding to better health care in the country.
Several institutions are involved in financing the Kenya’s health sector. The health care financing in Kenya is partly from the Kenyan government and partly from the donors. In the year 2005/2006, the private donors provided 54.0% of the health funding in the country (World Bank, 2010). In the same year, public sources of funds were amounting to only 16.3%. According to statistics from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (2014), Kenya budgeted only 4.6% of the Gross Domestic Product for health in the year 2006. This shows that the country has not met the WHO recommendations. CSIS (2014) indicate that the United States is the largest donor. It channels funds to the country through the USAID, PEPFAR, and the President’s malaria initiative. In 2009, for example, the US spent $521.1M through the PEPFAR programme only, though it channeled money to the country through the other programmes. Other countries that fund the health sector in Kenya include the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan (CSIS 2014). Further, Kenya receives aid from the European Union, and the agencies within the World Health Organizations such as UNFPA, UNAIDS and UNICEF.
The main lenders to the country, the International monetary fund and the World Bank set some conditions before lending loans (World Bank 2010). It requires Kenya maintains a small, but manageable government. Secondly, it requires commitment from the Kenyan government to fight inflation. Thirdly, it requires the government to maintain a sustainable number of civil servants. However, the country borrows from the International Monetary fund only in times of crises.
Privately owned foundations and faith-based organizations are also involved in funding Kenya’s health care system. Such include the Clinton Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, the Aga-Khan Foundation and the Lutheran World Relief. In aIDition, the country benefits greatly from the Global Funds to Fight Aids (CSIS, 2014). In regard to human capital, the country’s health sector is well endowed with human capita across the gender. Even though some cadres in the health sector show a greater number in a particular gender, gender is well respected in the country’s health sector, and cases of discrimination have been very minimal (Rifkin & Oyaya, 2004).
The economic, social and political development in Kenya is greatly supported by the outside donors. Mwega (2009) asserts that the foreign aid that the Kenyan government receives from donors is utilized in helping the common citizens. The government does this by initiating projects that enhance health in the country. Carlsson, Somolekae and Walle (1997) give an example of Japan’s aid to Kenya, which is used to fund various programmes in the country, that are linked to the health sector in one way or the other. For example, the aid is used to fund HIV/AIDS programmes and other chronic diseases. Most of the HIV/AIDS clients in Kenya benefit from the donor aid. The Kenyan government has allowed the donors to deliver services to the citizens directly, while it delivers other services through the publicly owned health facilities. In aIDition, donor aid also impacts the Kenyan people through research. Research is funded by donors through the ministry of health, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and the universities. According to Rifkin and Oyaya (2003), the Kenyan government devolved health services to the districts in 1994 for efficiency. To the present, majority of the people get health services at the rural dispensaries courtesy of donor funding. Organizations like the USAID and the CDC have invested heavily in the interior of the country (Rifkin & Oyaya, 2003).
However, there are some problems associated with donor management in the country. According to Carlsson, Somolekae and Walle (1997), there has been inappropriate coordination among the donors and the local leadership. This raises some challenges because some donors collide while targeting the same population for funding. In aIDition, some donors lack the necessary experience needed to manage or to work with the local people. The delay in the very required devolution of the aid services has also hindered effective utilization of the donor funding in the country. Finally, inefficient technology limits the ability of the donors in achieving the set objectives.
It is agreeable that donor aid in the health sector of Kenya leads to a healthy population, which impacts positively to the economic growth of the country. There are several ways in which the healthy population strengthens the economy of Kenya. Firstly, lending by international donors supplements the Kenyan budget. If the international donors fail to lend to Kenya, the government would channel more money from its strained budget to supplement what the donors do. However, because of donor supplementation, the Kenyan government is left with more money from its budget to fund economic development. According to the Who (2013), most of the HIV infected patients are funded b international organizations. These institutions go further to support the people living with HIV to start self-sustaining businesses. This has helped reduce the number of dependents and has the effect of boosting the economy. Thirdly, birth control and family planning in Kenya is largely dominated by the donors. By campaigning for family planning in the country, people will get the number of children they can raise and educate, and this has a positive bearing in the economy. Fourthly, apart from programmes targeting HIV/AIDS, the donors in Kenya targets other disease like the killer malaria disease. This ensures that the country is not drained of its human capital. In aIDition, many donor programmes target the children under the age of five years. This also has a positive bearing on the economy y in the future, because it leads to the preservation of the human capital.
The leadership of the government of Kenya has given full support, though it shows sluggishness when the donors approach with conditions. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (2014) has participated in many projects, in the country and agrees that the Kenyan government is cooperative to the donors. Another factor to ascertain the support that the Kenyan government offers to the donors is that it supports and accepts donors from all parts of the globe. For example, it has donors from America, Europe, Australia and the larger Asia. Further, the Kenyan government has allowed the donors to operate directly in the country, as well as, to partner directly with government agencies for efficiency. The government of Kenya also respects gender differences and works with all peoples regardless of their race and gender.
The government also provides an enabling environment for the donors by facilitating their establishment in the country.
In conclusion, the health sector in Kenya relies greatly from donor funding. A good proportion of the country’s health budget is funded by donors. The donors also engage in direct activities to ensure they benefit the people directly. The involvement of donors to the health sector impacts positively to economic growth in the country. However, donor funding thrives due to support from the Kenyan government.
Carlsson, J., Somolekae, G., & Walle, N. (1997). Foreign aid in Africa: Learning from countries experiences. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). (2014). Kenya: The big picture on health. Retrieved online from the CSIS website at http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/pages/kenya-mission/kenya-health
Japan International Cooperation Agency. 2014. Activities in Kenya. Retrieved online from http://www.jica.go.jp/kenya/english/activities/activitiy01.html
Rifkin, B. F., & Oyaya, O.C. (2004). Health sector reforms in Kenya: An examination of the district level planning. Health Policy, 64(2003), 113-127.
The World Bank. (2010). Private health sector assessment in Kenya. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
The World Health Organization. (2013). Country cooperation at a glance: Kenya. Retrieved online from http://www.who.int/countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccsbrief_ken_en.pdf