Home Institution

University of South Carolina

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


This study aims to understand the barriers that many Kenyans face towards accessing healthcare. This study was conducted in Kisumu and Siaya Counties, Kenya. Kisumu is an urban environment, whereas Siaya is a rural environment. Throughout both counties, areas with presumably low access to healthcare were surveyed. In Kisumu County, surveys were conducted in three informal settlements: Nyalenda, Obunga, and Manyatta. In Siaya County, surveys were conducted in Simenya Village.

This study has shown that financial accessibility is a large barrier to healthcare throughout the study population, as the majority of study participants felt that healthcare in Kenya is not affordable. This is likely due to low health coverage and low enrollment rates into Kenya’s national health insurance plan, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). Geographic barriers are also faced by members of the survey population. Despite the fact that most of the survey participants live within a reasonable distance (under 3km) of a healthcare facility, it can still take them a large amount of time to reach the facility. This is typically because of the indirect and unpaved paths and because travel is especially difficult for those that are old, sick, injured, or carrying children. The geographic barriers are directly linked to the financial barriers, as many people do not have enough money to pay for both the transportation to and from the facility and the care they need. The leading reason that survey participants made their facility choice was due to quality service, which shows that most people do find the healthcare facilities to offer acceptable service, despite other barriers that may exist. This study helped to clarify the barriers Kenyans face towards accessing healthcare and now measures can be taken to ensure that quality healthcare is readily available to all throughout the area.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Health Policy | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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