Health Policy Project

The Health Policy Project ended in 2016. Work continued under Health Policy Plus (HP+) until 2022.


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Kenya Releases First Health Survey to Capture County-Level Data; Explores a Decade of Health Care Utilisation and Costs
mother and child in kenya
Photo by IamPhelps

June 9, 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya—In 2003 and 2007, Kenya conducted Household Health Expenditure and Utilisation Surveys (KHHEUS) to explore how health services are both used and paid for. The surveys provided important information on citizen’s health seeking behaviors and helped to accelerate important changes to the country’s health sector. Most notably, survey results were instrumental in the creation of a policy to reduce user fees at the country’s health centers and dispensaries. Now, the government of Kenya has released a third KHHEUS that analyzes data captured in 2013.

The first health expenditure survey to take place since Kenya decentralized its government; the 2013 Kenya Household Health Expenditure and Utilisation Survey (2013 KHHEUS) collects data from the country’s 47 newly-created counties. Significantly, given the KHHEUS’s history, this latest survey compares its results with those of previous years (2003 and 2007), providing important insights into how healthcare utilisation, spending, and insurance coverage have changed in Kenya over the past decade.

According to the survey, access to health services has generally improved, with up to 87 percent of respondents reporting they visited a healthcare provider when ill. However, inequalities between rich and poor still exist. Access is largely dependent on various demographic factors including wealth, education, and residence. For instance, the wealthy and those residing in close proximity to health facilities are more likely to access care when they are ill, and people who live in urban centers spend more on health than those living in rural areas. Further, almost one-fifth of all Kenyans have some sort of health coverage and the last decade has seen declines in catastrophic health spending (i.e., health spending that outpaces a household’s budget and disrupts living standards). Despite these advances, thousands of Kenyan households are still pushed into poverty through health-related expenses.

Discussing the 2013 KHHEUS, Stephen Muchiri, program director, HPP/Kenya, commented, “The survey findings will inform the debate on health care financing and will help to re-define the road towards universal health coverage. In particular, the findings will assist in modeling the long-term costs of healthcare in the country and what role households can play in financing health.”

Conducted by the Ministry of Health, with support from the USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP), and in conjunction with Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics, the 2013 KHHEUS will provide critical evidence for the planning and development of Kenya’s health sector at both the national and county levels.

Download the 2013 Kenya Household Health Expenditure and Utilisation Survey report.

Download the Exploring 10 Years of Health Service Cost and Use in Kenya brief.

Learn more about HPP's work in Kenya

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The Health Policy Project is a five-year cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development under Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-10-00067, beginning September 30, 2010. The project's HIV-related activities are supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It is implemented by Futures Group, in collaboration with Plan International USA, Avenir Health (previously Futures Institute), Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO), Population Reference Bureau (PRB), RTI International, and White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA). The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

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