Kenya – health profile

Thinking of Kenya might draw to mind images of game parks, long distance runners, or the bustle of the capital city and regional hub, Nairobi. But breaking into our consciousness are new images, as drought ravages half the country and the number of food-insecure Kenyans has recently doubled to 2.7 million people.

In rural Kenya, women bear the sole responsibility for maternal and child health. Mothers-in-law often have greater influence on feeding practices than young mothers. Yet it is men who manage the resources and decisions around health. And something is not working: among the five 1000 Day Journey countries, Kenya has the highest maternal mortality rates, at 510 per 100,000 live births (compared to just 7 in Canada).

Elgeyo Marakwet County – 1000 Day Journey focus area

The fertile and visually striking Rift Valley forms the eastern boundary of Elgeyo Marakwet County in western Kenya. It’s an area where Homo erectus fossils date back almost 2 million years! But life today is a struggle when it comes to child and maternal health.

Child malnutrition exceeds the country average with 36 percent of children under the age of five stunted, and 19.5 percent underweight. World Vision knows the needs in the area. Since 2013, we’ve worked with government to establish 10 Community Health Units and train 200 Health Volunteers. 1000 Day Journey will build on these successes to strengthen all 25 Health Units in the area. A focus will be the empowerment of women to use their influence – ensuring health policies are followed through.