In 2013, Kenya adopted a new system of governance that decentralised government functions to the 47 regional counties. This had its benefits for the provision of health, as well as challenges. When the country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 13, 2020, these regional governments were tasked with the duty of looking after their own people as hysteria and fear swept through Kenya.
Consequently, all of the attention was taken from other infectious diseases, a move that led to some deadly consequences. For instance, measles, which is a highly infectious disease preventable by vaccination, claimed the lives of four children during this period. A researcher from one of Kenya’s research institutes said, “Measles deaths show a health system that is not able to immunise, which is the most basic service it is supposed to give and which is simpler than treating.”
Using data, interviews and research, the stories in this project will explore how other infections thrived in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic and what that says of Kenya’s health system and others like it.