Healthcare in Kenya and opportunities in the Kenya health sector

Healthcare in Kenya and opportunities in the Kenya health sector

The healthcare sector in Kenya

Kenya has set the stage for major improvements in its health care sector. The nation has created a long-term development plan called Vision 2030 to transform the country into a middle-income economy. To succeed, they have outlined three key pillars, namely economic, social, and political development to focus on the following:

  1. Achieve an average economic growth of 10% per annum
  2. Create fair and equitable social development in a clean and secure environment
  3. Realize a democratic system which focuses on people's issues and is accountable and result-oriented

The importance of the private sector in Kenya’s health industry

Kenya’s health policy is based on goals outlined in Vision 2030. According to country data, per capita expenditure has increased by  around 35%.

The private sector is in more demand than the public sector for the following reasons:

  1. Quality offered by the public sector is poor
  2. Health insurance penetration remains very low at only 4%
  3. Healthcare infrastructure is unevenly distributed
  4. Private hospitals and medical clinics concentrate more on urban areas

As a result of which, an estimated 47% of the poorest of Kenyans use private health facilities.

Growth of Kenya’s health sector

Kenya’s health sector is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall economy. This sector is valued at USD 2.2 billion and contributes 2% to the country’s GDP.

This growth is possible because:

  1. Life expectancy has increased to 6% in the last 10 years
  2. Population is growing at a rate of around 2.7% annually
  3. The country’s GDP has grown economically at a rate of 6% in 2015
  4. There are growing trends in non-communicable and communicable diseases
  5. There is more urbanization as well as awareness of preventative health care

The following diversified sectors have led to a broad range of business opportunities for local as well as international players:


  1. Government owned - Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH)
  2. Privately owned - The Nairobi Hospital and the Aga Khan University Hospital


  1. International – GlaxoSmithkline, Merck and Co., Novartis, and Pfizer
  2. Local - Beta Healthcare

Medical Equipment

  1. GE Africa
  2. Philips
  3. Guided Therapeutics


Insurance Companies 

  1. Jubilee Insurance
  2. Britam Insurance
  3. AIG
  4. UAP Insurance

Recent key developments

  1. Regulatory Framework - New regulations have been passed
  2. Health care service investments – Integrated health facilities have been launched
  3. Pharmaceutical Investments – Drug manufacturers like Astra-Zeneca, Merck KGaA, and Astellas have launched long-term health programs
  4. Medical equipment Investments – GE Healthcare along with GoK have provided USD 250 million worth of medical equipment while Guided Therapeutics has won a local contract to supply and install cancer screening equipment
  5. Healthcare ICT - Kenya Medical Supplies Association (KEMSA) has adopted a mobile based medicine tracking system

Business opportunities in the public sector

The public sector will present numerous business opportunities in the future for the following players:

  1. Manufacturers of medical devices
  2. Life science and pharmaceutical companies
  3. Companies with expertise in ICT solutions

Those are the broad areas of opportunity with the Kenyan health sector. But for more specific data and a smoother market entry, it’s helpful to engage the services of a professional market research agency to facilitate the process.

This entry in Africa & ME was updated on March 22, 2018 by specialist.