Kenya is the economic powerhouse of East Africa and often lauded as the technology hub of the continent.
Yet, for all its recent gains in education, the economy, and information communications technology, Kenya is also in the midst of a healthcare crisis that is reportedly forcing families to sell their property and assets to pay medical bills.
The Daily Nation reports that the cost of medical care in the country is driving some families into poverty, with the Ministry of Health estimating that at least a million Kenyans are driven to poverty every year by “catastrophic health expenditure”.
The report says the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes is adding to this threat.
NDCs are the leading cause of deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2016, NCDs accounted for 40.5 million deaths out of 56.9 globally.
Kenya has a population of 52.21 million — with 7.4 million people surviving on less than a dollar a day. It means they’re surviving on about half of the internationally-agreed definition of poverty, which is about $1.90 a day.
Meanwhile, the African Union estimates that 100 million people in Africa fall into poverty annually as a result of the high cost of healthcare.