Kenya's Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage

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Kenya's Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage HIV is the most common sexual infection globally, with a prevalence rate of more than 50% in Africa at the moment. This infection, which destroys the immune system and leaves the body defenseless, is now considered the most dangerous infection in history. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 40 million people were infected with the disease in 2014, implying that more than 50 million were infected by the time. Kenya is one of Africa's most populated nations, with more than 1.6 million people suffering from the disease. This country has an HIV prevalence rate of 6 percent among youths aged between 12-25 years, with close to one hundred and eighty thousand people already dead. However, health professionals claim the country is focused on reducing the prevalence rate to almost 1 percent by the end of this decade there are many factors that are seen to be still complex and remain unsolved in the fight against AIDS (Razavi, 2016). Some of the factors as cited by the United Nations AIDS program are mainly socioeconomic determinants and health behavior especially among the youth and young adults. Upon addressing the factors at the birth of children from their mothers who are already infected with it is evident that the disease would be reduced in the country.

HIV/AIDS is a virus that attacks the immune system of an individual and renders them defenseless against disease causing organisms. It does this through the destruction of the white blood cells and thus puts the individual at risk of contracting other infections. Aids is the final stage of HIV, however not every person with HIV develops AIDS. The disease according to the UNAIDS is most contracted through sexual intercourse with somebody who already has the virus leading to infection with HIV. However, still, other means through which the disease is contacted includes sharing of needles and sometimes through kissing. In Kenya, the Ministry Of Health reports that most infected people get the disease through sexual intercourse, however it shares that a large number of infants are as infected by the unsafe birth processes from their mothers. The World Health through the Sustainable Program for HIVAIDS reduction, sustainable Development Goal 3, target 3, it targeted total reduction of the disease globally by 2030.This target is observed all over the world and Kenya has not remained behind in enacting programs and policies that they have created to respond to the high rate of prevalence.

Kenya is an East African country located along the equator; it is at the central part of the region and borders other countries, which include Ethiopia to the North and Uganda to the west. According to its population census in the year 2009, the country was one of the average populous countries in Africa with an estimated 40 million people at that time. The country is economically higher than most of its neighbors with a GDP of more than 70 billion dollars. Notwithstanding the main problems that the countries face are mostly social in relation to the fact that the economy of the country is still below par. Western countries, however, have always been at the forefront to help the country solve its social problems through social funds that are mostly focused on solving the societal problems. Social needs like water, electricity, and health remain key determinants in the country’s key to success.

Historical Factors

The historical analysis Kenya trails back to the prehistoric settlement of natives who were living there as early as 1100BC. Later numerous civilizations took place through the existence of several traditional rulers. Kenya would then become British protectorate through the invasion of Mombasa in the 1800s and soon became a republic 1963 (Tulloch, 2016). The country, however, did not enjoy peace as it succumbed to political antagonism from its leaders over and over again which plunged the state into severe poverty for a long time, political feuds through the formation of many political parties would later lead to an influx of leaders from different ethnic groups especially from the Luo community, Kikuyu community Kalenjin community and the Luhya community. The high poverty rate is believed to have encouraged the start and severe growth in the prevalence of the disease in the country.

This is because the presence of poor people led to several negative societal problems like prostitution, which would increase highly the presence of the disease in the country. The National HIVAIDS strategic plan suggested that because of this Kenya produced an estimated 40 percent of new infections in Eastern Africa. Nevertheless, because of this, the government through the Ministry Of Health and the strategic plan has produced a master plan for dealing with the infection through a plan. Some of the interventions include: The reduction of mother to child transmission of HIV which was a plan meant to reduce the number of children who were infected with HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS education which involved the family life lessons and inclusion of the strategy in the Kenyan school curriculum, Barriers to the prevention of HIV-AIDS which involved both legal, structural and social barriers. The government through its ministries put several factors in place to eradicate this disease in the country (Vera, 2003).

Structural Factors

Structural and cultural factors are considered to be hampering the desire by the nation to eliminate the presence of HIV/AIDS. The country is situated in the central part of East Africa where migration of people is a permanent problem throughout the year. This means that there is labor migration and the spread of HIV in the East Africa; this is because of the historical trade combination between the Northern African countries with the addition of the influx of the foreigners, which adds more incentive to the transmission of the HIV/AIDS. The migration of the people in search of the jobs is a circumstance, which facilitates the transmission of the HIV/AIDS. Secondly, sex work is another structural matter that has hindered Kenya; this is because women who pout and look for sex work tend to enhance the transmission of the disease faster and because of this the government of Kenya in the year 2009 the government attempted to reduce the number of prostitutes in the streets of Nairobi through the provision of jobs. The Parliament further legislated the eradication of human trafficking which would lead to the transfer of populations to and fro the country hence doing away with the impact that the government places on the reduction of the spread of the disease. However, structural factors that hinder the elimination of the disease are still in the wake and still contribute to infection of the disease to a number of people. If not dealt with the factors would demean the efforts of the government in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Social Factors

Social factors as discussed earlier are the main contributors in the spread of HIV/AIDS in the world; this is because of the nature of human life, which is often social. In Kenya, several are social factors have hampered the desire by the government to eliminate or reduce the spread of the disease for a long time. In many cases, this is also attributed to behavioral characters of individuals who have not seen the effects of the disease in the country (Mayhew, 2006). One of the social factors that indeed hamper the avoidance of the disease according to the Kenyan Ministry Of Health is poverty, which is considered by most people as a factor that would still be responsible for the spread of the disease for quite a long time. Wife inheritance is another cultural factor in most African countries that have been seen to contribute a lot to AIDS transmission. It is suggested that in Kenya, wife inheritance is on the rise and this increases exposure to this disease. Early marriage is another cultural factor in Kenya, which contributes effectively to AIDs spread because it exposes the young girls to this infection at a tender age (Youssef, 2013); this is also because of the fact that the girl's vaginal membranes are prone to tear and easily get infected whenever they have sex. In addition, harmful cultural traditions that happen due to ignorance have also contributed to the spread of the disease. However, through different programs, many young people have been exposed to training and education through seminars and circulars to curb the spread of the disease.

Critical Factors

According to World Bank report of 2016, Kenya is still an upcoming economy with more than a half of the population living below the dollar margin. This has created difficulty for the country in enhancing its programs against this disease. Poverty and ignorance, therefore, is considered the main hindrance against the achievement of the goals and target of 2030 (Labrique, 2013). The high level of poverty has affected almost all the country’s population in which according to the latest UNAID report, the youth in the country have become the most susceptible in terms of contacting the disease. In addition, in an African country like Kenya where social and cultural beliefs are still considered as important, the trend of the disease prevalence will tend to increase amidst all the programs by the government to reduce it. However, the fund allocation for this country from world organizations targeting countries with high prevalence is appreciated. The annual contribution towards HIV programs by the World Bank and other subsidiaries have been helpful (Grant, 2016). Kenya too boasts of several own programs initiated to educate the people on how to prevent infection and spread of this disease.It is recommended nevertheless that the government should consider strict measures on issues such as behavioral health issue.

Conclusion

HIV/AIDS is a highly infectious disease and its prevalence in most African countries including Kenya is high. The disease is already the world’s number one killer and is estimated to infect more individuals if serious care is not given. Kenya will automatically reduce the prevalence of this disease if the mechanisms considered are effective, as they seem to be today. This implicates that most of the government's plans in order to achieve the Sustainable Program me set for 2030 must fulfill the issues that impede the spread of the disease (Cushnie, 2010). Kenya is therefore at the core of finishing the epidemic through numerous challenges are still hindering it.

References

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