Very few resources have been available in Kenya for many years. In the 1950’s the statistics of what was available was “…6 regional centers and hospitals of some 250 beds each, 32 district health services and hospitals, 23 cottage hospitals, 140 health centers, 20 health sub-centers, and a network of 366 dispensaries.”(Fendall) There was sadly only “1.2 beds per 1,000 population.”(Fendall) This number isn’t just a result of the what is wrong with the health services, but rather, the support of the government. “The problems of Kenya are cited to illustrate the planning of health services and the choices and methods of combating disease.”(Fendall) Between the beginning of the colonization of Kenya and the end, a disease treatment plan was never established. “Wise expenditure of limited resources demands waiting for the opportune moment and selection of priorities in attacking diseases with such tools as vaccines, chemo-prophylactic drugs, and residual insecticides. It is incontrovertible that health will not improve until living standards improve.”(Fendall)
Though to most it seems health care discrepancies are a result of the wealth of the country; it has been proven that these distinctions are from the elites of that governmental society. Looking closer at Kenyan Africa, there is an overwhelming amount of people that have AIDs and other life long illnesses. With government officials that regulate almost 40% of the health care industry that affect a majority of the people. In the modern health care discussion over Ebola, conversation has surrounded how care is being distributed. Just like a great deal of recurring epidemics, the ‘hospitals’ are pop up tents with insufficient medicine access, affecting the survival rates of these individuals. In past years in Kenya the government hasn’t made an effort to prove that health care is an important ideal to have a strong country. During the colonization of Kenya, Britain left this country with a poor environment to build and maintain a successful health care system. The health care actions surrounding Kenya are being scrutinized in order to comprehend the roots of why it has never been a priority to the governmental elites.
Health care has seen huge improvements in several countries all over the world, whether that was due to governmental power or attaining external aid. Each country that has an effective health care system tends to have a stronger country, government, and most importantly, healthier people. It is a shame to see how dramatic the differences are between countries. Smallpox, AIDS/HIV, and Malaria are just a few of the health care epidemics that have swooped across Kenya, attributing to outstanding statistics of mortality rates. “Kenya has the fourth-largest HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated 1.6 million people living with the virus out of a population of 40 million.” (Poz 2014) This is a result of an early health care act set in place, or one that was never set to begin with. In, “2008, the Government of Kenya operated 48% of the country’s health facilities.” (Turin, 2010) The government has control over this situation and has not provided the care these people need. This deadly disease has taken over and is now becoming an epidemic. This disease is hindering the people of Western Africa due to the poor health conditions previously established. Women, children, men and the elderly, are all being effected by this disease and there’s no stopping it. Hospitals are overflowing with all of these affected people and there isn’t a sufficient way to treat everyone.
Documenting the events occurring in Africa compared to what was happening in Western industries, there is a clear separation on what is published in the media to portray a certain objective. In The London Times, there is an excerpt about how proficient Kenya’s health care is. It doesn’t specify who wrote the article, however; it says it’s from our correspondents, which would entail someone who is in close connection. This source was created on May 30th, 1956. It was intended for the general public, but; it seems like there is ulterior motives to get other governmental officials attention. Because Kenya was colonized by Britain during this time frame, the information in this article is biased. It portrays Kenya’s health care as stellar. It helped London to show that they support their allies, to make them look good, and; because they are colonizing parts of the world, the negativity can’t be brought to the surface. This source could be tainted with information if this is written by someone living in London that hasn’t been to Kenya to see the actual health care being given to these people. In comparison, if someone in Kenya during the 1950’s wrote this, it would have a totally different out look. This source now leads me to question, how did the people in Kenya view Dr. T. Davey, the doctor that this author claims to be the leader of this superior health care? Then it made me question where was this health care rumor coming from that Kenya had a good health care system in the first place?
On the outside it is a difficult concept to understand why health care is so hard for them. Another thing to ponder is the idea of the British government. For example, did Britain try to help with their health care and they simply declined the offer; or was it backwards and Kenya tried to ask for help and Britain said no. With this outbreak of Ebola, the discrepancy in the health care situation has been brought to the attention of the world once again. This recurring health care problem never seems to get resolved. In an article from The New England Journal of Medicine about this outbreak, they address the fact that, “’Everybody keeps asking why isn’t this medication made available to our people out there?’ Samuel Kargbo, from Sierra Leone’s ministry of health, told the AFP news agency Faunci, Anthony.” This has been happening for a long time. Faunci ended his article with the argument about the reality of this Ebola epidemic, where he argues, “[s]hould exemptions be offered for compassionate or emergency use, distribution of scarce interventions must be conducted with careful ethical guidance and regulatory review. It is unlikely that any miracle cure will end the current epidemic. Rather, sound public health practices, engagement with affected communities, and considerable international assistance and global solidarity will be needed to defeat Ebola in West Africa.” His argument is weighed into which ethical guidelines are in place to protect people. Isn’t there any way to propel this medicine along? What is the difference between the medicine the doctors are getting in Africa and the new age medicine the people of Africa aren’t allowed to have. There has to be a deeper root to this problem than just people dying because of a deadly disease.
Most of these people can’t even get basic necessities for life. What makes anyone think that this drug for Ebola will become available for these people soon? They are being rejected. Current issues don’t just happen over night. It is all past events that lead up to the result today. Steven Feireman published an article in the University of California Press regarding medical knowledge during the colonization of Africa. The main historical moment that Feireman focused on is when the Europeans came into Africa and pressured the ideals of how they believed they needed to resolve the problems by segregation and economics. One of the things I found quite interesting was that “servants were allowed to work at hill stations but not to spend the night. Apparently the assumption was that mosquitoes would bite only at night — which is not any more true in Africa than it is in North America.” (Feierman, 1992) This was an exaggerated thought to keep this disease of mosquitoes at bay. Mainly focusing on the colonial time period seems to be “between 1880 and World War I”. (Feierman, 1992). Part of these ideals that the Europeans believed were that “they meant literally that temperature, humidity, and emanations from the soil were the source of the danger.” (Feierman, 1992) These outrageous ideals occurred over and over from multiple people that were in charge of the colonial government. Segregation is tangled in the problem of health care. Racism was increasing within these cities as Feierman explores this idea of segregation as a part of World War I. Health care can be a touchy subject because it is regarding peoples lives, and the treatment of someone having a happy and health life. When there is a problem that is influencing how the health care is acted out it can be given a negative light for the people.
Chaiken, Miriam S. “Primary health care initiatives in colonial Kenya.” World Development 26.9 (1998): 1701-1717.”Ebola Is Taking a Second Toll, on Economies.” The New York Times. September 5, 2014. Accessed September 6, 2014.
Fauci, Anthony. “Ebola – Underscoring the Global Disparities in Health Care Resources — NEJM. New England Journal of Medicine. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Feierman, Steven. “Medical Knowledge and Urban Planning in Colonial Tropical Africa.” In The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. “Kenya : History.” The Commonwealth. Accessed September 21, 2014. http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/kenya/history.
Fendall, N. (n.d.). Planning Health Services in Developing Countries: Kenya’s Experience. Retrieved December 6, 2014, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4591993?seq=3&Search=yes&list=hide&searchUri=/action/doAdvancedSearch?q2=Kenya+&f4=all&f2=all&q0=+Health+Care+policy+&f6=all&f0=all&q4=&c4=AND&pt=&la=
OUR CORRESPONDENT. “Kenya Health Services Praised.” Times [London, England] 30 May 1956: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
“Treatment News : HIV Rates Fall in Kenya.” Treatment News : HIV Rates Fall in Kenya. Accessed September 21, 2014. http://www.poz.com/articles/kenya_rates_761_25236.shtml.
Turin, Dustin. “Health Care Utilization in the Kenyan Health System: Challenges and Opportunities.” RSS. Accessed September 21, 2014.Keita, Maghan. A Political Economy of Health Care in Senegal. Leiden: Brill, 2007.Nossiter, Adam.
“WHO Holds Urgent Talks on Ebola Treatments.” – Africa. September 4, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.