Situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity". It has a population of around 45 million people.
MSF in Kenya 2015
Kenya was shaken by inter-ethnic violence which followed disputed elections in 2007. However, the next elections in 2013, passed off without violence and resulted in victory for Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of independence leader Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenya's military entered Somalia in October 2011 to curb the threat of the Islamist militant Al-Shabab movement, which it accused of the kidnap and killing of tourists and aid workers.
Since 2013 Al-Shabab has launched an increasingly deadly series of reprisal attacks in Kenya itself.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in Kenya in 1987. Our work in the country has provided responses to endemic/epidemic disease and healthcare exclusion.
"Now moving forward with my life and career as a teacher, I would also like to become a TB educator to help and encourage people going through their strenuous treatment.
"Prevention remains the best way to avoid the nightmare I have now overcome. At a national level it is essential to improve the knowledge about TB and its different strains amongst the communities.
"The fight against TB isn’t over!"
Doctor Stephen Sitima Wanjala
“This is where I first met MSF, who were running Clinic B, the HIV clinic at Homa Bay District Hospital.
"I even had a unique encounter with a photographer from MSF who took a photograph of me in the paediatric ward attending to a patient who I still remember because of their near brush with death.
"I never knew I would eventually work with MSF in the same small town of Homa Bay.
"Fast forward to 2015 and MSF conducts a study to look at the major causes of admission and death in the medical wards at Homa Bay district hospital.”
MSF’s work in Kenya: 2015
MSF continues to respond to the medical needs of some of Kenya’s most vulnerable people: inhabitants of slum settlements and refugee camps, patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) and victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Dadaab refugee camps
Dadaab is the world’s largest long-term refugee settlement, made up of five camps, which are home to some 345,000 refugees, mostly Somalis.
As a result of an agreement signed by the UN Refugee Agency and the governments of Kenya and Somalia in 2013, Somalian refugees are being urged to return home voluntarily. However, very few refugees are making this choice and they remain in Dadaab, where funding for humanitarian assistance continues to decrease.
Although MSF has not been able to have a permanent international presence there since 2011 due to insecurity, staff have continued to work in the 100-bed hospital in Dagahaley camp and at four health posts, providing outpatient and mental health consultations, surgery, and antenatal, HIV and TB care.
HIV/AIDS and TB care
In Ndhiwa, western Kenya, an estimated 24 percent of adults are HIV positive, and the number of people infected has been increasing annually. In mid-2014, MSF began a four-year programme aimed at reducing the number of new HIV infections, treating people living with HIV and reducing mortality rates.
Providing healthcare in Nairobi
Sexual and gender-based violence is under-reported in Kenya, and it is hard to find dedicated healthcare in public clinics and hospitals. In the Eastlands slums, MSF continued its programme at Lavender House clinic. Victims of sexual and gender-based violence have access to a 24-hour hotline and ambulance pick-ups.
They also receive treatment for physical injuries, prophylactics to prevent transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, a pregnancy test when relevant and psychological counselling. In 2015, more than half of the 2,429 people treated at the clinic were aged under 18, and a quarter of those were younger than 12.
In Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, MSF provides comprehensive basic healthcare, as well as treatment for HIV, TB and non-communicable diseases, to the 240,000 inhabitants through two clinics.
In 2015, teams carried out 132,500 consultations, and assisted 2,469 deliveries in the maternity ward in Kibera South.
Responding to a cholera outbreak
MSF supported the Ministry of Health’s response to a massive cholera outbreak in 2015. In Nairobi, teams set up cholera treatment units (CTUs) and over 570 patients were also treated at a CTU in Dagahaley refugee camp. By the end of the year, MSF had supported 47 facilities in 17 counties and had provided care to more than 8,300 patients.
Garissa university attack
In April, Al Shabab militants stormed a university in northeastern Kenya. Over 100 people were killed in the incident, most of them students. An MSF team treated survivors of the attack, including more than 70 with gunshot and blast wounds, and people who had sustained cuts from shattered glass.
MSF provided medical consultations, food and water at Garissa airport, where around 300 evacuated students spent the night.
Find out more in our 2015 International Activity Report.
At the end of 2015, MSF had 1,175 staff in Kenya. MSF has worked in the country since 1987.