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.
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.
MSF in Kenya 2014
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.
Esther Orege, 41-year-old HIV patient
“I joined MSF’s HIV programme in Homa Bay and was able to receive antiretroviral treatment for free. But it was far from my home, and it cost me 400 KSH to go there and come back every month.
"I am confident that, in the future, I will be able to work and I will be able to take care of my family. I’m going to live to my old age. Already I have a granddaughter, and I hope I will live to see my great grand-daughter.”
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: 2014
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 violence
Dadaab refugee camps
Over 350,000 people, mostly Somalis, live in precarious conditions in Dadaab, the world’s largest long-term refugee settlement.
The threat of kidnappings, robberies and sexual assault puts significant pressure on the people living in the camps and insecurity severely limits the capacity of humanitarian organisations to provide services.
MSF has not had a permanent international staff presence in Dagahaley camp, 80 kilometres from the border with Somalia, since 2011 due to increased insecurity, but continues to manage a 100-bed hospital and an inpatient feeding centre through the work of national staff and remote management.
MSF’s programme in Homa Bay has provided antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to people living with HIV since 2001. Homa Bay was the first public hospital in Kenya to offer it free of charge. The programme is in the process of being handed over to the health ministry.
Healthcare in Nairobi slum settlements
In the Eastlands slums, poverty, drug use, crime and impunity contribute to high levels of violence, including sexual assaults. Victims, however, have very limited access to emergency medical care in this part of the city.
MSF has been working to fill this gap with its programme at the Lavender House clinic in Mathare, which offers comprehensive care to victims of sexual and gender-based violence, including access to a 24-hour hotline and pick-up by ambulance.
After evaluating the health needs in the area, MSF decided to address the population’s lack of access to hospitals and specialist healthcare. A dispatch centre was set up and two ambulances were made available to the residents of Mathare and Eastleigh
The only free basic healthcare for people in the Kibera slum is provided through two MSF clinics.
Treatment for HIV/AIDS, TB and chronic diseases is available, and the team runs a comprehensive aftercare programme for victims of sexual violence. MSF opened a new clinic in Kibera South, offering basic healthcare and maternity services.
Find out more in our 2014 International Activity Report.
At the end of 2014, MSF had 603 staff in Kenya. MSF has worked in the country since 1987.