Wrong Prescription: The Impact of Privatizing Healthcare in Kenya

A collaboration between The Economic and Social Rights Centre-Hakijamii and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law.

The 49-page report draws from more than 180 interviews with healthcare users and providers, government officials, and experts, and finds that the government-backed expansion of the private healthcare sector in Kenya is leading to exclusion and setting back the country’s goal of universal health coverage. 

The report documents how policies designed to increase private sector participation in health, in combination with chronic underinvestment in the public healthcare system, have led to a rapid increase in the role of for-profit private actors and undermined the right to health. Privatizing healthcare has proven costly for individuals and the government, and pushed Kenyans into poverty and crushing debt. While the wealthy may be able to access high-quality private care, for many, particularly in lower-income areas, the private sector offers low-quality services that may be inadequate or unsafe. The report concludes with a call to prioritize the public healthcare system.