In 2013, Kenya introduced a new system of government that transfers the decentralized government function to the 47 regional districts. This has had both health care benefits and challenges. When the country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 13, 2020, these regional governments were tasked with looking after their own people as hysteria and fear swept through Kenya.
As a result, all attention was turned to other infectious diseases, with some fatal consequences. For example, measles, a vaccine-preventable highly infectious disease, claimed the lives of four children during that period. A researcher at a Kenyan research institute said: “Measles deaths indicate a health system that cannot immunize. This is the most basic service it is supposed to provide and which is easier than treatment.”
Using data, interviews and research, the stories of this project explore how other infections thrived in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic and what this says about the Kenyan health system and others who like it.