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Centre for Global Child Health

Kenya Countdown Country Case Study

Principal investigator: Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and the Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University, Dr. William Macharia, Professor and Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Aga Khan University Nairobi.

The recent Countdown to 2015 reports (Countdown 2012 report and Accountability Report 2013) show that Kenya is not on target to meet MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality) or 5 (improve maternal health). For example, the proportion of births attended by skilled health professionals, one of the most important indicators for MDG target 5a, has been reversing in Kenya over the last 20 years.

Kenya Countdown 2016
Participants at the Kenya Countdown 2015 launch event, Nairobi, Kenya.

 The government of Kenya has expressed a strong commitment to dramatically improve its performance on MDGs 4 and 5, as demonstrated by the first lady’s recent sponsorship of a Nairobi marathon and upcoming participation in the London Marathon, both as efforts to raise funds and increase public awareness for services improvement. However, it is also clear that government commitments must be translated into renewed and accelerated actions if Kenya is to get on track to reach these landmarks, and to accelerate its progress both before and after 2015.

The aim of the Kenya case study was to undertake a robust national and sub-national analysis (at county level) in order to evaluate progress over the last two decades on key Countdown coverage indicators as well as improvement in health financing to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. Outputs to inform both central and county governments will be invaluable in informing multi-level planning, especially considering the significant management, policy, financing, and accountability challenges associated with the recent decentralization (‘devolution’) of health services as per the new constitution. On the basis of this analysis, we will develop a model of what interventions can be effectively implemented to accelerate improvement in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and reduction in mortality over the next 10 years.

Project collaborators include Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Aga Khan University, Karachi, University of Nairobi, Family Care International, Africa Population & Health Research Center, Ministry of Health, Kenya.

Supported by:  US Fund for UNICEF under the Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Survival grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids),  Aga Khan University (Nairobi) and the Aga Khan University (Karachi) provided additional in-kind support.