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Danida has supported the health sector in Kenya for over 35 years with different interventions and with different levels of intensity. The current Danida Support 2017-2020 focuses on supporting Universal Health Care in Kenya with great emphasis on supporting the devolution process within the health sector and aims at a sustainable path for the sector’s economy. In addition, the programme has a huge focus on addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights mainly maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as addressing gender based violence.

Prioritizing Health

Health is prioritized as one of the key sectors in Kenya’s overall development strategy, Vision 2030, but in spite of the high prioritization of health, government funding to the sector is inadequate and below the international targets. Various development partners and NGOs have traditionally contributed significantly to healthcare financing and provision and a big part of donor funding is off Government budget, which raises concerns of sustainability. The fast growing population - around one million per year - will put pressure on future funding of the sector.

The public sector is the main provider of health care services in Kenya, especially for the poor. Although the private sector (including faith-based organizations) owns about half of the health facilities in Kenya, the public sector accounts for more than two-thirds of service utilization. The devolution reform in 2013 has led to significant changes in the administration of the health sector. The responsibility for delivering primarily health services was devolved from the Ministry of Health to the 47 counties. The mandates of the national health sector currently include referral facilities, policy formulation, capacity building, regulations and technical support.

A number of health financing initiatives have been introduced recently to reach the poor and marginalised key populations. These include abolishment of user fees at all primary health care facilities as well as free maternal care in public health facilities. Devolution has opportunity to improve the Kenyan health system and service delivery by enhancing equality in moving resources closer to the people and promoting accountability, but the rapid transition posed new challenges in flow of funds and inexperienced staff in the new county administration.

Following the election in 2002, a new Kenyan Government was formed on promises of strong commitments towards the enhancement of good government, poverty eradication and sustainable development. This led to a shift in Danish development assistance to the health sector, from working mainly outside central government structures to close involvement with the government and a gradual shift from project to programme assistance. The devolution process within the healthcare system in Kenya opens a window of opportunity for improvements and ownership in each county, and Danida is supporting and following this process closely. 



Team Leader, Governance and Health
Adam Sparre Spliid   
Programme officer
Hellen Gesare Bonuke


Programme officer
Antonia Pannell