Organisational responses to the environment: A case of the Ministry of Health responses to rampant cases of malaria in Kenya
The Kenya health care system can be divided conveniently into three official sub sectors namely public, voluntary ( Non Governmental Organizations) and private. The public sector comprises the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Local Government (MLG), and health services of other ministries and parastatals. The Public sector is the major provider of health services with a control of 58% of all health facilities, 52% of all beds and 70% of all health personnel. The Ministry of Health is the third priority in terms of budgetary allocation after the Office of the president and Education. With a budgetary allocation of 33 billion Kenya shillings it endeavors to fulfill its mandate. Malaria is a debilitating disease affecting millions of Kenyans each year and is the leading cause of death in Kenya. The toll it exacts must be viewed not only in terms of the physical, financial and emotional pain it inflicts on individual families (it kills 26,000 children per year in Kenya) but also by its macro-economic impact. The economy in general and the health sector in particular are heavily burdened by the cost of drugs and treatment. Malaria accounts for more than 8 million out-patient treatments at GoK health facilities each year. Malaria accounts for 30% of all outpatient attendance and 19% of all admissions to our health facilities and remains the leading cause of death and illness in Kenya. The primary objective of this study is to determine responses of the Ministry of Health to the challenge of malaria in Kenya. The other objective of the study is to establish the effectiveness of the responses or interventions by the Ministry of Health towards the Malaria pandemic in Kenya. The study also highlights the challenges the MoH faced in tackling the malaria pandemic both previous and current challenges and the measures the ministry has instituted to counter these challenges. Xl In this study a number of senior officials of the Ministry of Health were interviewed and a tape recorder was also used to record information from in-depth interviews. The Ministry of Health has faced several challenges with diseases in general and more so with Malaria. Malaria is a debilitating disease affecting millions of Kenyans each year and is the leading cause of death in Kenya. The country's ecology provides ideal conditions for the malaria-carrying mosquito; especially in coastal and lake regions. Climatic conditions are conducive to outbreaks of epidemic intensity in other areas, such as intensively farmed highlands and semi-arid North-Eastern parts of the country. Capacity and resources for prevention and treatment are inadequate. Cumulatively, malaria represents a massive barrier to socio-economic development and poverty alleviation. The responses by the Ministry of Health as highlighted in the study have immensely contributed to the reduction in the threat posed by malaria. It is therefore recommended that organizations must set up operational as well as strategic priorities in meeting their long term goal of fulfillment of stakeholder expectations. The study focused on the Division of Malaria Control and should be emulated by other divisions within the Ministry of Health to compare their strategic responses. A further study should be carried out to outline the impact of private sector influence in the implementation of Malaria control strategies by the Ministry of Health. I also recommend a study on the impact of the Malaria Control Strategies by the year 20 I0 by the Ministry of Health in Kenya in a bid to achieve the Abuja Declaration Targets of halving the number of Malaria cases.