Understanding Medical Problems

The Top Five Health Problems In Kenya And How You Can Help

Most of Africa experiences major socioeconomic issues and health problems. If war does not take a life, starvation or disease often will. The following five health problems in Kenya are very good examples of what these people face everyday, and how, as an American, you can help Kenyans live longer, healthier lives.


Aids has been rampant in Africa for decades. The lack of access to STD prevention and sexual health education only fuels this fire. Even in parts of Africa where you can buy condoms and protect yourself, most Africans either cannot afford protection or, sadly, contract the disease through rape. According to the CDC, 15% of all Kenyans die of AIDS, a sad fact considering that it not only can be prevented, but it also can be treated with medication.

2. Lower Respiratory Infections

No, this is not just a common chest cold. This includes whooping cough/pertussis, pneumonia (particularly AIDS-related pneumonia), and parasitic infections that invade the lungs and destroy healthy lung tissue. All of the above could be cured, or at least treated, with access to excellent healthcare and medications.

3. Diarrheal Diseases

This is not just your ordinary enteritis. It includes cholera and dysentery, both of which are caused by poor hygiene and unsafe living conditions. Many times the poorest of people in Kenya drink from the same watering hole that they use for bathing, washing dishes, and for their toileting needs. Clearly, this is not healthy, but it is the present situation.

4.  Protein Energy Malnutrition

The human body not only requires food, but it also requires a variety of foods to stay well-nourished. Malnutrition occurs either when the body does not get enough to eat (starvation), or when it does not get enough of a particular nutritious food. In the case of Kenyans, they typically do not get enough protein. Charities send a lot of high-carbohydrate foods, like rice, to fill the bellies of the Kenyans, but they lack the variety in their diets that they need. Everything from peanut butter to chicken and clean fish is what they require.

5. Birth Asphyxia and Trauma

In poorer countries, because of the lack of access to good healthcare, pregnant mothers do not often receive prenatal care. That results in high mortality rates. Along with high mortality rates, infants can suffer asphyxia at birth because there is no one to deal with umbilical cords wrapped around the babies' necks during birth. Other tramas, such as poor lung development and prenatal brain injuries, cause babies to be stillborn, or worse, with such defects and special needs that the mothers cannot care for them. The children are either abandoned, or suffocated.

What You Can Do to Help

There are dozens of ways you can help Kenyan people. Donate money or time to a Kenyan non-profit charity. The CDC keeps a very long list of charities working in Kenya who need your help. Send first aid supplies, bandages, medicines, and/or medical equipment, if you can or if you are a medical professional who can send the equipment. Send hundreds of cases of canned meat, such as fish, ham, corned hash, tuna, etc., to stop the protein malnourishment. 

If you are a teacher, or an OBGYN nurse, come to Kenya to teach women and men both how to protect themselves from pregnancy and unwanted diseases that will kill them. Bring medicines and condoms that will help them in these areas. If you are a self-defense expert, you are needed to teach women and girls how to protect themselves against rape. Whatever and however you can help, the help is appreciated.