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Overview of East Africa’s health trends


The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of 6 Partner States: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan. As one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world, the EAC is widening and deepeningco-operation among the Partner States in various sectors for their mutual benefit and one of the keys sectors is healthcare.
Five East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda) currently have a combined population of 153 million. By 2030, East Africans are projected to increase to 237 million people. Over half (178 million) will be children and youth. This shows a high demand for increased investment in healthcare which would enable the East African Community to effectively narrow the gaps in the healthcare system and proactively address future needs.
Kenya has set the stage for major improvements in its health care sector. The nation has created a long term development plan called Vision 2030 to transform the country into a middle-income economy. Kenya’s health sector is expected to grow at average compound annual growth rate of 10.8% in 2019, this is valued at US$3.1 billion.
Government increased its efforts in building new health facilities all over the country, most of them remain below acceptable standards, and therefore unable to provide an adequate level of patient care. Thus, in February 2017 the Minister of Health vowed to reduce the status of some health facilities into dispensaries for their inability to handle maternal and new-born care.

The Government is in the process of finalizing a bill that will make membership in the improved Community Health Fund (iCHF) mandatory for all Tanzanians. For 2017/18, the Ministry of Health has planned to spend Tshs.785.8 billion (US$351 million) as part of its development budget, which will help the ministry implement its health improving initiatives
Government has continued to direct efforts towards provision of inclusive and comprehensive health care services to all Ugandans while undertaking key steps to improve health infrastructure to address constraints related to both healthcare access and quality. One of the initiatives is the ongoing construction, expansion, rehabilitation and equipping of Mulago National Referral Hospital estimated of US$ 47 million.
Rwandan Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP III) provides strategic guidance to the health sector for six years, between July 2012 and June 2018. HSSP III has been inspired and guided by the VISION 2020.
Part of the vision, the Rwandan Health Sector seeks to continually improve the health of the people of Rwanda, through coordinated interventions by all stakeholders at all levels, thereby enhancing the general well-being of the population and contributing to the reduction of poverty.
Kenya at a Glance
Population of 46 million in 2015
Increasing by 1 million a year and will reach 85 million by 2050
Kenya’s health sector is expected to grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 10.8% in 2019
Kenya’s health sector was valued at
USD 2.3 billion in 2015
and contributes 2% to the country’s GDP
The Kenyan healthcare system can be split into three subsystems – Public Sector, Commercial Private Sector, and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs). The Public Sector is the largest in terms of the number of healthcare facilities, followed by the Commercial Private Sector and the FBOs. With 9,696 officially registered health facilities in the country.
County system
In 2013, Kenya implemented a New Constitution – process of devolution – the decision-making processes and implementation falls under regional leadership with the country divided in 47 sub regions which are also known as counties.
Under the devolved system, healthcare facilities have consolidated service areas into 4 main categories for ease of governance and responsibility. Sharing the responsibilities between the national government and county governments.
LEVEL 1: Community health services
LEVEL 3:County referral services
LEVEL 2: Primary care services
LEVEL 4: National referral services

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