Planning for rural health services : A case study of south Imenti Division Meru district
Development of Kenya cannot be separated from the health of the individual Kenyan. One of the objects of development is to enable the individual to live a healthier and therefore happier life. It is true that when there is much ill-health, people are neither happy nor productive, so that the development of their country is delayed. This study thus set out to study factors that affect and influence the state of health prevailing in most rural areas with a aim of providing socio-economic, cultural and physically determined solutions to the health problem. The theme of the study is to show how the health of the rural areas can be improved as quickly and as economically as possible. For its study area, the study has taken South Imenti Division of Meru * District as an example of a typical rural area and examined the physical, economic and social factors as they affect the health of the people. The study has established the fact that health and the provision of health services encompasses many factors, such as poverty, communication, environmental sanitation, housing conditions, water supply, education, agriculture and other health-related services and not just additional investments in medical care. It has also found out that the Kenya's health approach where curative services have so far dominated the development of the health care system should be re-evaluated to increase the share of primary, preventive and promotive health care. The study area was characterized by lack of health services in general and in many cases services of a similar type are irrationally located in relation to the distribution of population such that they become duplicated within a small area. Hence unnecessary costs are incurred and services themselves are under-utilized. The study thus considered that to rectify this situation and to rationalize the distribution of health services, the national service centre policy which aims at guiding spatial development should be given sufficient attention by all the agencies responsible for provision of health services. Taking the problems prevailing into consideration the study finally comes up with a number of recommendations. In the first place, it is recommended that a more comprehensive planning approach to health care is required. This should aim at involving all the sectors and coordinating all the agencies responsible for provision of health care at all levels. Secondly, it is recommended that there is a need to adopt an approach integrating all the elements necessary to make an impact on the health status of the people, particularly the under-served groups. One approach which could respond to the various needs identified is that known as "community based health care" The study has made an attempt to describe by reference to the present health situation (needs for health and health services) the problems that require resolution and how to go about it.