Kenya is a country in the East Africa region with a coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lake lands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safari visits to the Maasai Mara Reserve known for its annual wildebeest migrations and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro are a norm.
The Republic of Kenya is a country in Africa and a founding member of the East African Community (EAC). Kenya’s territory lies on the equator and overlies the East African Rift covering a diverse and expansive terrain that extends roughly from Lake Victoria to Lake Turkana (formerly called Lake Rudolf) and further south-east to the Indian Ocean. It is bordered by Tanzania to the south and southwest, Uganda to the West, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi), and has a population of approximately 45 million people according to statistics done in July 2014.
Kenya has a warm and humid tropical climate on its Indian Ocean coastline. The climate is cooler in the savannah grasslands around the capital city, Nairobi, and especially closer to Mount Kenya, which has snow permanently on its peaks. Further inland, in the Nyanza region, there is a hot and dry climate which becomes humid around Lake Victoria, the largest tropical fresh-water lake in the world. This gives way to temperate and forested hilly areas in the neighbouring western region. The north-eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Kenya is known for its safaris, diverse climate and geography, and expansive wildlife reserves and national parks such as the Tsavo East East and West, Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Aberdares. Kenya has several world heritage sites such as Lamu and numerous beaches in Diani, Bamburi and Kilifi, where international yachting competitions are held every year.
The African Great Lakes region, which Kenya is a part of has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic period. By the first millennium AD, the Bantu expansion had reached the area from West-Central Africa. The borders of the modern state consequently comprise the crossroads of the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic areas of the continent, representing most major ethnolinguistic groups found in Africa. Bantu and Nilotic populations together constitute around 97% of the nation’s residents. European and Arab presence in coastal Mombasa dates to the early modern period; European exploration of the interior began in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, which starting in 1920 gave way to the Kenya Colony. Kenya obtained independence in December 1963.
Following a referendum in August 2010 and adoption of a new constitution, Kenya is now divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties, governed by elected governors.
The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Agriculture is a major employer; the country traditionally exports tea and coffee and has more recently begun to export fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is also a major economic driver. Additionally, Kenya is a member of the East African Community trading bloc.
The majority of Kenyans are Christian (83%), with 47.7% regarding themselves as Protestant and 23.5% as Roman Catholic of the Latin Rite.The Presbyterian Church of East Africa has 3 million followers in Kenya and the surrounding countries. There are smaller conservative Reformed churches, the Africa Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Independent Presbyterian Church in Kenya, and the Reformed Church of East Africa. 621,200 of Kenyans are Orthodox Christians. Notably, Kenya has the highest number of Quakers in the world, with around 133,000 members. The only Jewish synagogue in the country is located in the capital, Nairobi.
Minorities of other faiths exist (Muslim 11.2%, indigenous beliefs 1.7%), and nonreligious 2.4%. Sixty percent of the Muslim population lives in Kenya’s Coastal Region, comprising 50% of the total population there. Roughly 4% of Muslims are Ahmadiyya, 8% Shia and another 8% are non-denominational Muslims, while 73% are Sunni. Western areas of the Coast Region are mostly Christian. The upper part of Kenya’s Eastern Region is home to 10% of the country’s Muslims, where they constitute the majority religious group. In addition, there is a large Hindu population in Kenya (around 300,000), who have played a key role in the local economy; they are mostly of Indian origin.
Kenya has made significant investments in domestic and external resources in disease control, maternal and child health, and primary health care programmes in the recent past.
The Government’s resource mobilization efforts have yielded close to 120 million U.S dollars annually as additional funding from the government budget and external resources, with over 80% of the resources being channelled to support primary health care, free maternity programme, medical Equipment Leasing Service and health insurance subsidies for the poor, older persons and people with severe disabilities.
In addition to this, the Ministry of Health in partnership with the UN and private sector have launched a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Partnership Platform to mobilize additional 2 billion U.S dollars from the private sector to drive universal health coverage by strengthening primary healthcare services
As the country moves towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Ministry of Health continues to intensify her efforts to address the health needs of the poor, inequities in health, health promotion and pay greater attention on quality of health care services.
Kenya has also made significant progress in improving the health status and socio-economic well-being of the Kenyan population as demonstrated by the gradual improvement in life expectancy at birth from a low of about 52 years in the year 2000 to the current 62 years.
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