Kenya is a country that is found in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa. It is a country with an approximate population of 40 million people. With a square kilometer area of approximately 582000, Kenya is among the third world countries that are under developed. A former colony of Britain, Kenya mainly depends on agriculture as its main economic backbone although the type of agriculture practiced in the country is not mechanized. Most of its land lies in arid and semiarid climatic areas. Alongside agriculture, the successive governments of Kenya have stepped up campaigns to promote tourism. Tourism has contributed to the Kenyan economy in earning the country the much-sought foreign exchange. Apart from tourism and agriculture, other sectors like manufacturing, service industry and energy are slowly growing with support from the government. There have been recent discovery of oil in the country. Various explorations have been done with some areas passing mining tests and promising good mining possibilities in the future. Currently, oil mining in the northern part of the country is already taking place (Wanjiru, 2009)
The Kenya governments have always relied on donor funds to stimulate the development and economic growth in the country due to the economic status of the country that exhibits a low per capita income and deficit budget (US Government Accountability Office, 2001).
Since its independence, the country has always turned to these financial institutions for aid in order to compliment the government’s expenditure on development and economic growth. In the year 2009, the IMF disbursed $200 million, which was meant to provide financial help for developing countries. This fund was poised to help those countries to cushion themselves from financial shocks associated with global financial meltdown that resulted to low demand of exports from developing countries. The fund helped Kenya in dealing with the issues of high cost of food and fertilizer. This fund too mitigated the negative effect of the escalating prices of fuel. The beginning of the year 2011 was also marked by another intervention by the International Monetary Fund in Kenya. In this year, the IMF approved a loan of over half a billion US dollars. This loan was dubbed extended credit facility (ECF).
Although the country had inthe past relied on international monetary fund in order to get the necessary fund for financing the government expenditure, the IMF itself has always acted as an obstacle in combating the macroeconomic policies of this country (Center for Global Development, 2007). By influencing the macroeconomic policies of this country, the IMF has affected various sectors of the country. The IMF’s poverty reduction and growth facility was a strategy that restricted and affected the government’s priorities in dealing with matters that required high attention. The PRGF strategy limited the government’s expenditure regardless of the widespread unemployment. It also limited the government’s capability in dealing with the health issues like combating the HIV/AIDS scourge and tuberculosis menace. This strategy of IMF limited the government participation in the above situations by stipulating the spending deficit the institution allowed and by putting in place the health wage bill ceiling. The move has worsened the health sector in Kenya. It has led to health workers’ shortage. This program has also limited the ability of government in responding to the economic crisis that has faced the country. (Rose, 2009).
Given that any poor and developing country has to meet the requirement of IMF for them to access external fund, IMF has a upper hand of control in their choice of macroeconomic policies that a country wants to adopt. In 1990s, the IMF arm-twisted the government of Kenya to reduce the number of its recurrent expenditure so that it could be able to access loans and funds with the institution. The government took retrenchment policy and thousands of people lost their jobs. There was widespread unemployment, and this led to the social unrest in the country. The IMF also made the central bank of Kenya adopt reforms on exchange rates. This move translated into a greater outflow of capital, a move that had an adverse effect on the balance of payment of the country.
The 1990s requirement by the IMF led to heightened tension in the country. The social aspect of the country was skewed and socially unacceptable behavior such as crime and prostitution was on the rise due to the high unemployment. The living standards of people plummeted and as a result, poverty increased in a large percentage.
Regardless of the above huddles, the government of Kenya has continued to put high emphasis on benefits of a healthy population to her growth and development
There are many benefits that a country derives from a healthy population. It is argued that health is a foundation of progress and wealth. Healthy population reduces the mortality rate. Death of the workforce deprives a country of crucially needed labor for production of goods and services. The reduction of infant mortality rate also has a social and psychological benefit as well as economic ones. This is because the time used during mourning could be utilized for economic achievements. Another benefit is the reduced health cost on households and the government. An ailing population exerts pressure on the government and society in securing medication for the sick ones. (Lorentzen, P. et al. 2005). The third benefit is that people are able to continue with their economic activities without disruption and this result to a higher per capita income of the country. High mortality rate through diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS results in an increased number of orphans (Hailu et al 2007). Taking care of orphans is a costly venture to the government and society.
The government of Kenya has continued to put high emphasis on matters of health of its population (Center for Global Development, 2007). Although pressed between a rock and a hard surface due to lack of adequate funds to cater for the health sector in the country, it has adopted various reforms in a bid of improving health sector. The government of Kenya has continued to utilize the donor fund of USAID in financing health sector. Through USAID and other donors, the government of Kenya has been able to restructure health management in the country. For instance, the government has increased health financing and training of health workers in order to reduce the shortage of health workers. This is also meant to improve the level of health care offered in the country through the use of medical technology and innovation.
Center for Global Development. (2007). Does the IMF Constrain Health Spending in Poor Countries? Washington, DC.
US Government Accountability Office (2001). Few Changes Evident in Design of New Lending Program for Poor Countries. Washington, DC.
Hailu, Degol and Singh, Sonal. (2009). Policy Research Brief N o. 11. The Macro- Micro Nexus in Scaling-Up Aid: The Case of HIV and AIDS Control in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia. International Centre for Inclusive Growth. Brasilia, Brazil.
Lorentzen, P., McMillan, J., and Wacziarg, R. (2005). "Death and development." NBER Working Paper 11620. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w11620. \
Mahal, Ajay (2004). "Economic Implications of Inertia on HIV/AIDS and Benefits of Action," Economic and Political Weekly (March 6), 1049–1063.