In Kenya, with an estimated population of close to 38 million people, approximately 48% of them live on less than a dollar a day. The major health problems affecting the population are the so called diseases of the poor; communicable diseases like HIV and AIDS, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, Malaria and diarrhoeal diseases. The HIV pandemic, which has had a devastating effect on the low socioeconomic sections of the society, is a major factor to the deteriorating health conditions due to the emerging opportunistic infections especially TB. The health problems are addressed in public health facilities yet the utilization of these facilities remains low.
The health sector is hugely under funded, and as a result, the health authorities have tended to concentrate on the curative health rather than the preventive health services. Lack of basic amenities abounds, and there is nowhere where this is truer than in the informal settlements, commonly known as slums. There are several of these informal settlements in Nairobi. They have no access to piped water, no toilets or latrines, no health facilities in the vicinity, and of course with the low socioeconomic status, they are not assured of the next meal.
The slum and rural inhabitants also rate the standard of services provided in the public health facilities as unprofessional, hence their tendency to seek health care in the backstreet clinics run by unqualified staff, with no proper equipment.
HFCI aims at working with the local communities to educate them on the ways of preventing the so called diseases of the poor and providing them with early diagnosis and quick referral as their needs may be. We believe early diagnosis is good; prevention better. HFCI has so far established two clinics in Maasai village slum and Fuata Nyayo slums respectively.