Rwanda topples Kenya and Uganda in health spending

Kenya has lost its position as the biggest spender on health per capita to Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania over the last 15 years.

An analysis of World Bank data shows that though Kenya has remained the biggest economy in the East African region, it is increasing its spending on health care at a much slower pace than its neighbors. This saw Rwanda overtake Kenya, and Uganda in the period under review coming from the 3rd position in the mid 1990s. Rwanda overtook Kenya and Uganda in 2006 and has been racing ahead as shown in the graph above. However, it is in 2010 and 2011 that the gap widened.

By the end of 2011, Kenya was a distant fourth, only beating Burundi, in a trend that should worry policymakers and the public.

The revelation could reignite debate on Kenya’s commitment to healthcare at a time when debate is raging about shrinking health spending as a percentage of the overall national budget.

The increase in expenditure on health per capita could perhaps explain why Rwanda is ahead of her East African peers in terms of vaccinations of her population. The World Bank data shows that 95 percent of Rwanda’s children between 12 and 23 months were fully immunized for measles in 2011.

Tanzania, which is the third highest spender on health, comes in second with 93 per cent of her children aged between 12 and 23 months vaccinated while Burundi, Kenya and Uganda, have 92, 87 and 75 percent vaccinated respectively.

But what may worry health experts in Kenya more is the widening gap in healthcare spending between Rwanda and the rest of the East African nations.

This becomes the latest win by Rwanda as far as the provision of basic services is concerned.


Paul Wafula
About the Author: Paul Wafula
Paul Wafula is a senior investigative reporter with the Standard Media Group with over five year’s experience as a business and investigative journalist. He has held various positions as news editor in different Newspaper publications like Hillman publisher and New Star Television Network where he has published countless business stories. His zeal for storytelling has earned him many accolades and the most recent one being the best tourism reporter, print, in the 2011 Media Council of Kenya awards On why he applied for Internews health and data journalism fellowship he says: “I will be able to do better stories with support from data. At the end of the fellowship investigative stories will be much easier because data will point me in the right direction.”
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