Timeline of healthcare in Kenya

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This is a timeline of healthcare in Kenya, focusing especially on modern science-based medicine healthcare. Major events such as crises, policies and organizations are included.

Big Picture[edit]

Period Key developments
Prior to 1888 Tribal medicine is performed in the territory. Use of herbal medicines by some tribes dates back to as far as 3000 BC.[1]
1888–1962 Under British rule, modern hospitals start to be founded, beginning with Mombasa Hospital and Kenyatta National Hospital. User fees are introduced in all public facilities.[2]
1963–1980s After independence from Great Britain, Kenya works with the purpose of attaining a universal healthcare system. Notwithstanding uneven results, in this period the number of healthcare facilities quadruple and life expectancy extends from 40 to 62 years. Child survival rates also improve.[3]
1990s–2000s Both a previous economic crisis and the intensification of the HIV/AIDS epidemics in Africa hit dramatically the Kenyan population and many past achievements and improvements are reversed. Life expectancy declines and infant mortality increases.[3]
2000s–present Adult HIV prevalence starts to fall and an increasing financial support from donors stop the reversal of health rates. Life expectancy returns to its ascending trend.[3][4]

Full timeline[edit]

Year/period Type of Event Event Location
1882-1884 Crisis Famine breaks out in Kenya, and smallpox epidemic follows. Mortality rate is estimated to be massive.[5]
1891 Organization (hospital) Mombasa Hospital is founded.[6] Mombasa
1898 Crisis Smallpox epidemic occurs in Kenya, again during a famine. The combination is estimated to have killed up to half of the entire population of the country at the time.[5]
1900 Policy The colonial government passes the East Africa Plague Ordinance in response to earlier outbreaks of bubonic plague.[5]
1901 Organization (hospital) Kenyatta National Hospital is founded.[7] Nairobi
1906 Policy The colonial government passes the Plague and Cholera Ordinance in response to frequent plagues in Kisumu. Segregation zoning laws are implemented.[5]
1908 Organization (hospital) P.C.E.A. Kikuyu Hospital is founded.[6] Kikuyu
1909 Organization (hospital) P.C.E.A. Tumutumu Hospital is founded.[6] Karatina
1910 Organization (hospital) Mathari Hospital is founded. Even today it is the only psychiatric hospital in Kenya.[8] Nairobi
1914 Organization (hospital) Nairobi Hospital is founded.[9] Nairobi
1915 Organization (hospital) A.I.C. Kijabe Hospital is founded.[6] Kijabe
1918 Crisis Spanish influenza is introduced in Kenya through the port of Mombasa, devastating much of the country. By 1919, the death toll reaches more than 5.5 percent of the Kenyan population.[5]
1937 Organization (hospital) Consolata Hospital is founded.[6] Nyeri
1942 Crisis Bubonic plague breaks out and kills 529 people.[5] Nairobi
1944 Organization (hospital) Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa founded.[10] Mombasa
1953 Policy A Division of Health Education (DHE) is created.[11]
1957 Organization (hospital) Nanyuki Cottage Hospital is founded.[12] Nanyuki
1957 Organization (hospital) Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu is founded.[6] Kisumu
1958 Organization (hospital) Aga Khan Hospital Nairobi is founded.[13] Nairobi
1962 Policy The Family Planning Association of Kenya is established, with the Ministry of Health taking coordination and supervisory roles.[11]
1963 Political change Kenya gains independence from Great Britain. The new government proposes to provide free healthcare for the entire population, in the belief that a healthy population could boast economic development.[3][14]
1965 Policy Kenya formalizes its "free care for all" plan and abolishes using fees for people seeking care in public clinics, which is managed at the local level. Health services are provided for free and funded predominantly through tax revenue.[2][3]
1966 Policy An insurance scheme is established. Kenyans who are formally employed and whose income exceeds a set threshold participate in the National Hospital Insurance Fund.[3]
1967 Policy The National Family Planning Program – the first for a sub-Saharan African country – is launched and managed by NGO Family Planning Association of Kenya.[11]
1971 Crisis First cholera epidemic occurs in Kenya. After this outbreak, cholera epidemics erupt somewhere in Kenya almost annually.[5]
1976 Policy Formal training of health education officers begins, though main attention is focused in reducing fertility rates.[11]
1982 Policy The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) is established in order to reform the program to integrate maternal and child health services.[11]
1984 Crisis First HIV/AIDS patient is identified in Kenya.[5]
1984 Organization (hospital) Mariakani Cottage Hospital is founded.[15] South B
1989 Policy User fees are introduced in all levels of care due to failure to sustain universal healthcare. Poor economic performance, inadequate financial resources and declining budgets are some of the reasons given to justify the introduction of user fees.[2][11][16]
1990 Policy User fees are suspended in all public health facilities. Waivers and exemption are put in place to protect the poor and vulnerable. Poor policy design and implementation lead to failure.[2][16]
1991 Policy User fees are reintroduced in phases. Children under five, special conditions/services like immunisation and tuberculosis are exempted from payment. User fees continue to exist in Kenya at all levels of care.[2][16]
1994 Policy The Government of Kenya (GOK) approves the Kenya Health Policy Framework (KHPF) in order to develop and manage health services.[17]
1994 Organization (hospital) Metropolitan Hospital is founded.[18] Eastlands
1994 Achievement Kenya’s last indigenous case of dracunculiasis is reported.[19]
1994 Report The first National Health Accounts report shows that government's share of national health expenditure covers the 29%, donors 8%, households 53% and private firms 10%.[11]
1995 Organization The AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance project (APHIA) is launched in Kenya by USAID in order to support the integrated delivery of health services, including: HIV/AIDS; maternal, child and neonatal health; reproductive health; family planning; malaria and tuberculosis.[20]
1995 Organization (hospital) MEWA Hospital is founded.[21] Mombasa
1996 Policy/organization The Kenya Health Policy Framework Implementation Action Plan is developed and the Health Sector Reform Secretariat (HSRS) is established.[17]
1997 Organization (hospital) Diani Beach Hospital is founded.[6] Diani
1997 Crisis HIV is declared a national disaster by the Kenyan government. 1 million people are positive out of a total population of 29 million at the time.[5]
1997 Organization (hospital) Barnet Memorial Hospital is founded.[6] Kabarnet
1998 Organization (hospital) AIC-CURE Children's Hospital is founded.[22]
2001 Organization (hospital) The Nairobi Women's Hospital- Hurlingham is founded.[23] Nairobi
2001 Report The number of hospitals/maternities reaches 500, in addition to 611 health centers throughout the country.[17]
2001 Organization (hospital) Coast Hospice hospital is founded.[6] Mombasa
2001 Organization Barchando HIV/AIDS and Poverty Eradication Group is established with the purpose of curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Barchando community.[24] Siaya County
2001-2002 Report Out-of-pocket payments contribute to the 51.1% of total health expenditure in Kenya. Government spending accounts for 29.6% and Donors' contributions account for 16%.[16]
2002 Report Kenya spends 5.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare, compared to an average of 9.8% for the OECD during the same period.[14]
2003 Report Malaria is found to be the most common diagnosis in both out-patient and in-patient care.[14]
2003 Organization USAID launches the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program is focused on prevention, treatment and care.[25]
2004 Policy The Minister for Health Charity declares a new policy for user fees at primary healthcare facilities. The policy declaration states that all services needed/rendered (including diagnosis, lab and pharmaceuticals) would cost only KSh 10 and KSh 20, respectively, at the dispensary level (the lowest level of healthcare in Kenya) and at the health center level (the second level of healthcare facility). Children under five, the poor, special conditions/services like malaria and tuberculosis are exempted from payment.[2][11]
2005-2006 Report Out-of-pocket payments contribute to the 35.9% of total health expenditure in Kenya. Government spending accounts for 29.3% and Donors' contributions account for 31%.[16]
2007 Policy All fees for deliveries at public health facilities are abolished.[2]
2007 Policy Kenya articulates a strategic approach to facilitate partnerships for health and starts to receive funds from the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to facilitate health-related planning and expenditure tracking.[3]
2008 Organization (NGO) Better Poverty Eradication Organisation is established. One of its main activities include developing HIV/AIDS prevention strategies and assisting with income generation in Kenya.[26]
2009 Organization (hospital) The Nairobi Women's Hospital-Adams is founded.[27] Nairobi
2009 Report 6% of adults are infected with HIV/AIDS, (compared to 8% in 2001).[28]
2009 Policy The National school-based deworming programme (NSBDP) is launched jointly by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), the Ministry of Health (MoH) and funded by the Children's Investment Fund Foundation with the purpose of eliminating Soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis as a national public health problem in Kenya.[29]
2010 Policy A health sector services fund (HSSF) that compensates facilities for lost revenue associated with user fee removal is introduced. Dispensaries and health centers receive funds directly into their bank accounts from the treasury.[2]
2010 Policy New Constitution of Kenya replaces the 1969 constitution. It states a legal framework to ensure a comprehensive rights-based approach to healthcare. It provides that "every person has a right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes reproductive health rights". It further states that "a person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment and that the State shall provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependents".[30]
2011 Organization The government of Kenya enters into an alliance with the Peace Corps, USAID, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify a workable strategy for healthcare in the country.[31]
2014 Organization The World Bank, along with other global partners, launches the 2014-2018 Kenya Country Partnership Strategy, with aims at providing greater access to healthcare and wellness services in Kenya. Women and girls living in poverty, in addition to maternal, neonatal and under-5 mortality, are special targets for the organization.[31]
2016 Report Life expectancy in Kenya is estimated at 64.02 years, being ranked 188th out of 228 political subdivisions.[32]

See also[edit]

2017 - A new Health Act 2017 enacted into law to address Universal Health Coverage. The Act makes provision for creation of several bodies to facilitate achievement of UHC in the Country. President announces Affordable Health For All as part of the Big Four Agenda for Economic development. Healthcare gets prioritized with focus to strengthening NHIF to be the provider of choice for both the formal and the informal sector. NHIF Act to be reviewed to allow mandatory health insurance.

2018 - 13th Dec 2018; Universal Health Coverage launched in the Country starting with four pilot counties namely Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and Insiolo.


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