Kenya is in East Africa and it is the economic and financial centre of the whole area. However, despite its high GDP growth, unemployment is high and the average age of the population is one of the lowest in the world: 20 years. As in many sub-Saharan countries, less than half of the population (40%) is under 15 years old.

The population is mainly concentrated along the coast, in the Nairobi area, the capital, and near Lake Victoria. Only 28% of the Kenyans live in urban areas. Agriculture represents the backbone of the country’s productive system and it gives work to 75% of the entire population.

Although Kenya is a country of emigration, given its relative stability, it hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries. According to the UNHCR, Kenya is in fact the country with the second highest number of refugees and has welcomed (as of January 2020) 491,258 refugees and asylum seekers.

As far as healthcare is concerned, Kenya has succeeded in reaching its targets set for vaccinating children, improving the healthcare centres and providing access to medication. However, according to estimates of 2015, only 30% of the population (29.7% in rural areas and 31.2 in urban areas) have access to public healthcare services and the main cause of death is AIDS. In fact Kenya has 5th highest number of people in the world living with HIV, 1.6 million (in 2018), which is 4.7% of the country’s population and is 6th for the number of deaths caused by this disease. The women, who represent 65% of the people living with HIV, are those who are most badly affected by the epidemic.

Despite these high figures, UNAIDS still reports a reduction in the number of deaths caused by HIV since 2010 and a 30% reduction in new infections in that year.

DREAM in Kenya

The Community of Sant’Egidio started working in Kenya in 2005 with the DREAM programme, in collaboration with their local partner DREAM Kenya Trust, in the counties of Nairobi, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi and Embu. The programme supports 8 healthcare centres in the towns of Nairobi, Chaaria, Nkubu, Kyeni, Chakariga, Nchiru and Tunyai. DREAM works together with the communities in order to provide assistance and therapies to the most vulnerable people.

The strategy of the DREAM programme is to offer a complete package of services free of charge, in order to maximise access to treatment. These services include tests and counselling, medical examinations, supplies of antiretroviral drugs, tuberculosis and cervical cancer screening.

DREAM is mainly run by local staff, who are trained and supported by international experts.

DREAM has also set up three laboratories in Kenya and they work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the counties, regional institution and religious congregations working in healthcare, like the Daughters of Charity and the Ursuline Sisters of Gandino.

 

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