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Jun 15, 2010
Kenya: New survey shows improvements in health


Nairobi, Kenya

The Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, Hon. Mrs. Beth Wambui Mugo, launched the main report of the 2008-09 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) today. It shows that Kenya has made progress in improving children’s health and reducing fertility. More children are living past their fifth birthday, and fertility has declined very modestly. There have also been increases in HIV testing and HIV/AIDS-related knowledge.

Nationwide, infant mortality has markedly decreased. Currently, 52 children per 1,000 live births die before reaching age one, down from 77 deaths per 1,000 live births as measured in 2003, the date of the last KDHS. Similarly, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has decreased. Under-five mortality has dropped from 115 deaths per 1,000 live births as measured in 2003 to 74 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008-09. This represents a 36 percent decrease. Furthermore, the proportion of children fully immunised has increased from 57 percent in 2003 to 77 percent in 2008-09.

The total fertility rate in Kenya has decreased slightly. This is the first decline since 1999. Women in Kenya have, on average, 4.6 children. This represents a modest decrease from 4.9 children in 2003. The decrease was the greatest in the Rift Valley, where the total fertility rate declined from 5.8 as measured in 2003 to 4.7 in 2008-09.

Contraceptive use has increased from 39 percent of married women in 2003 to 46 percent in 2008-09. Use of modern methods of family planning has increased from 32 to 39 percent since 2003. Urban and rural women are almost equally likely to use modern methods, but use varies widely by province, ranging from a low of 4 percent of married women in the North Eastern province to a high of 63 percent in Central province.

HIV testing has increased dramatically. Currently, 57 percent of women have ever been tested for HIV and received their results, which is an impressive increase from the 13 percent of women as measured in 2003.  Likewise, HIV testing has increased for men. Currently, 40 percent have ever been tested for HIV and received their results, compared to 14 percent of men as measured in 2003. Additionally, HIV/AIDS-related knowledge has increased since 2003. The increases in knowledge of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV were more dramatic. The number of women who know that HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding and the risk of MTCT can be reduced by the mother taking special drugs during pregnancy increased from 28 percent in 2003 to 65 percent in 2008-09.   

The 2008-09 KDHS relies on data collected from a sample of households which is representative of the whole population. The survey conducted from November 2008 to February 2009 interviewed 9,057 households, 8,444 women age 15-49 and 3,465 men age 15-54.

The 2008-09 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) was carried out by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), in partnership with the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), the National AIDS/STD Control Programme (NASCOP), the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCAPD). ICF Macro, an ICF International company, provided technical assistance through various phases of the survey through the USAID-funded MEASURE DHS programme.