Guidance

Kenya: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Kenya for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB).

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Kenya, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice

Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived, because Kenya has an intermediate prevalence.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Be advised that there is a high risk of malaria in some areas of Kenya.

Be advised that there is a risk of typhoid infection in Kenya.

Find out more about children’s health.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Tuberculosis (TB)

There is a high incidence of TB in Kenya (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), so:

  • screen all new entrants (including children) for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Kenya (>1%), so:

Be advised that although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Kenya may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services

Hepatitis B

Kenya has an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly

Hepatitis C

Kenya has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in some areas of Kenya, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Kenya, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Kenya are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Kenya

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Kenya, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Kenya
Children per woman¹ 2 5
Use of contraception² 82% 39.3%
Breast examination or mammography³ 75% 0%
Cervical cancer screening⁴ 70% 4%

¹lifetime average ²by woman of reproductive age or partner ³women aged 50 to 69 years ⁴women aged 20 to 69 years


Find out more about women’s health.

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has regularly been documented in Kenya.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a moderate risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is 20 to 40%), and a high risk pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), in Kenya, so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Kenya.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Kenya.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Kenya.

Languages

The main languages used in Kenya are:

  • English (official)
  • Kiswahili (official)
  • numerous indigenous languages

Source: The World Factbook.


Find out about language interpretation.

Religions

Religion Population (%)¹
Christian² 82.5
Muslim 11.1
None 2.4
Other 1.7
Traditionalists 1.6
Unspecified 0.7

¹2009 census ²Protestant 47.4%, Catholic 23.3%, other 11.8%

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were over 137,000 people from Kenya living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2014.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 8 April 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated advice on testing for anaemia, based on current prevalence in Kenya.
  2. First published.