Following his re-election, President Kenyatta of Kenya laid out the pillars of his manifesto for change — “The Big Four Agenda” — which promised transformative progress in areas of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable health care for all. While improvements have been made, both the nutrition and health budgets in Kenya fall short of what is needed to create substantial change in achieving President Kenyatta’s promises of food security and universal health coverage.
The facts are worrying. Stunting rates in Kenya remain high at 26%, and nearly 1 million Kenyans are pushed below the poverty line every year as a result of unaffordable health care expenses.
More can be done to guarantee that no man, woman, or child should suffer from poverty, hunger, or malnutrition. The World Bank estimates that an additional $10 per child per year is needed in order to achieve the globally agreed nutrition targets on stunting, wasting, anaemia, and exclusive breastfeeding. Global Citizen is calling on the Kenyan government to achieve the president’s promise of food security and commit to spending an additional $10 per child per year on nutrition — or $73 million — so that every child can live a life free from hunger and malnutrition.
Alongside this crucial investment in nutrition, Global Citizen is urging the Kenyan government to take concrete action on achieving the president’s pledge for universal health coverage by 2022. While the health budget in Kenya has risen in recent years and currently stands at 7%, more can be invested to ensure everyone receives health care without suffering financial hardship. The Abuja Declaration, endorsed by African Union Heads of State in 2001, calls for a minimum investment of 15% of a country’s annual budget into health, yet Kenya is not even halfway to that target. To ensure no one is left behind, we are also calling on the Kenyan health ministry to prioritize reaching the nearly 12 million Kenyans still suffering from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like trachoma - an eye infection that leaves sufferers blind.
Call on Kenya’s Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, and National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, to prioritize and invest in nutrition and health so that every man, woman, and child in Kenya can live a healthy and nutritious life.