Relationship between incidence of sickness and poverty level


Post Date: 03 October 2018   |   Category: Poverty   |   Hits: 68


In our previous blog we examined the disease prevalence rates in Kenya where it was revealed that malaria, flu and headache constitute major reported cases among Kenyans with a share distribution of 37%, 16.5% and 8.1% respectively. 

Information on incidence of sickness is important in the design of requisite policy interventions as well as monitoring existing programmes and milestones such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

In this article we wish to explore the extent to which poverty can be attributed to be the cause of the disease prevalence rates in Kenya.   

In order to draw this comparison, we examine the data on the percentage distribution of the population by incidence of sickness  in the 47 counties and compare this with the poverty incidence using data from the data from the national survey, The Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, 2015/16.  

The chart below provides as a visualization of the poverty rates and incidence of sickness  in the 47 counties. The poverty rates  is plotted on the y axis whilst the disease incidence is plotted on the x axis. 

Relationship between poverty rates and incidence of sickness

Source: Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, 2015/16

As can be observed from the above distribution, there is no strong relationship between poverty rates and incidence of sickness across the 47 counties. Counties with very high poverty rates such as Turkana, Mandera and Samburu at 79.4%, 77.6% and 75.8% respectively have rates of incidence of sickness that is 23% or less. The national average incidence of sickness is 21.5%. Furthermore, Wajir County which happen to have relatively high poverty rates at 62.6% which is 26.5 percentage points above the national average rate of 36.1% also happens to have the lowest incidence of sickness rates at 6.6%.

On the other hand, counties with high incidence of sickness such as Migori, Kakamega and Tharaka Nithi at 41.8%, 40.0% and 35.0% respectively happen not to have relatively very high poverty rates. Their poverty rates are 41.2%, 35.8% and 23.6% respectively.

In conclusion, other factors other than poverty incidence are responsible for the incidence of sickness across counties. 

Number of the week: 21.5%, National incidence of sickness in Kenya 

  • Overall, 21.5% of the population were reported to have been sick or injured during the reference period.
  • The prevalence of illness was higher for females (23.8%) than for males (19.1%)
  • The proportion of population that reported sickness or injury in rural areas was higher at 22.2% compared to 20.2% in urban.
  • The counties with high proportion of population that reported sickness or injury were Migori (41.8%), Kakamega (40.0%) and Tharaka Nithi (35.0%). 

In the subsequent blogs we shall further explore factors responsible for incidence of sickness in Kenya.