The quantitative and qualitative contributions of faith based organizations to healthcare: The Kenya case

  • Alfredo Fort UNFPA and IMA World Health
Keywords: faith based organizations, healthcare, Kenya, contributions, low income countries


Though difficult to ascertain because faith based organizations (FBOs) might keep a low profile, be confused with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or survey respondents may not know the nature of facilities attended to, these organizations have a long presence in teaching health personnel and delivering health services in many rural and remote populations in the developing world. It is argued that their large networks, logistics agreements with governments, and mission-driven stance brings them closer to the communities they serve, and their services believed of higher quality than average.

Kenya has a long history of established FBOs substantial recent health investment by the government. We aimed to find the quantitative and qualitative contributions of FBOs by analyzing two recent data sources: the live web-based nationwide Master Health Facility List, and the 2010 nationwide Service Provision Assessment (SPA) survey. Using this information, we found that FBOs contribute to 11% of all health facilities’ presence in the country, doubling to 23% of all available beds, indicating their relative strength in owning mid-level hospitals around the country.

We also constructed an index of readiness as a weighted average from services offered, good management practices and availability of medicines and commodities for 17 items assessed during the SPA survey. We found that FBOs topped the list of managing authorities, with 70 percent of health facility readiness, followed closely by the government at 69 percent, NGOs at 61 percent and lastly a distant private for profit sector at 50 percent.

These results seem to indicate that FBOs continue to contribute to an important proportion of health care coverage in Kenya, and that they do so with a relatively high quality of care among all actors.

It would be of interest to replicate the analysis with similar databases for other countries in the developing world.

Author Biography

Alfredo Fort, UNFPA and IMA World Health

 Alfredo Fort is a Public Health physician with more than 30 years dedicated to improving the lives of most vulnerable populations through Community, Reproductive, Maternal and Neonatal Health Care. He has specialized in designing, conducting and analyzing and reporting population and facility based surveys. He has worked in Andean and Amazon areas of Peru, and in several countries in Africa and Asia; Alfredo has worked with different public and private agencies and organizations, most notably with WHO, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and currently with UNFPA. He undertook work leading to this publication during an enjoyable period with IMA World Health, a thriving faith based organization (FBO) based in Washington DC.

How to Cite
Fort, A. (2017). The quantitative and qualitative contributions of faith based organizations to healthcare: The Kenya case. Christian Journal for Global Health, 4(3), 60-71.