By Mohammed Obierotenyo Swaleh
Kenya has a vibrant public service and has made commendable progress towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through the flagship project Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda. Public institutions through the government of Kenya have engaged in Public Private Partnerships as a recovery strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this piece, I concentrate on the four SDGs that Kenya has made strides in during, and post COVID-19 period. They include; Good health and well-being (Goal-3), Quality Education (Goal-4), Gender Equality (Goal-5), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Goal-16).
Through SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being, the Ministry of Health in Kenya made great efforts on increasing the staffing levels in all government health facilities with adequate logistical support as compared to pre-COVID-19 period. The Ministry of Health and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Mohammed Badi, oversaw the construction of 24 new hospitals of different levels to facilitate access of affordable healthcare administered by competent medical staff. These hospitals have been established in the critical zones where they were really needed such as in informal settlements, hence, at the County level, Referral Hospitals have been opened to dedicatedly handle critical care patients amongst other categories of patients.
Swaleh (far right) with his PSELF colleague Linah Kiende (far left) when they bumped into Public Service CS Prof. Margaret Kobia (centre) at the Kigali International Airport during the CHOGM 2022
Child mortality rate of Kenya fell gradually from 147.3 deaths per 1000 live births in 1971 to 41.9 deaths per 1000 live births in 2020. The current infant mortality rate for Kenya in 2022 is 31.771 deaths per 1000 live births, a 3.47% decline from 2021. The Beyond Zero campaign by Her Excellency the First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta has contributed to strengthening the Kenyan national values towards universal healthcare by enhancing the capacity of our Kenyan Health Systems. The Ministry of Health continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations with booster doses already rolled out.
On SDG 4; Quality Education, the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, designed and rolled out the Competency Based Curriculum which has shown tremendous progress in the child development. During the COVID-19 period, the Kenyan education system was disrupted and forced schools and tertiary institutions to be closed due to the containment measures that were being implemented. The Ministry of Education has been able to recover from these disruptions and by December 2022, the education calendar will practically be back to normal. Adjustments were made by education experts within the Ministry of Education in order to recover from the period lost during the pandemic. There has been a 100% transition from various levels of education where also the Ministry of Education built the capacity of the Technical and Vocational Educational Training institutions to offer technical skills relevant for building the Human Capital in Kenya.
Swaleh (far left) with his PSELF colleague Linah Kiende (far right) when they met Mastercard CEO Reeta Roy in Kigali, Rwanda during the CHOGM 2022
On SDG 5: Gender Equity, it is evident that the Government of Kenya has achieved the two thirds gender rule as outlined in the New Kenyan Constitution, 2010. In all levels of appointments in the Public Service, the gender equity principle has been key. This led to the President of Kenya, His Excellency president Uhuru Kenyatta receiving the Africa Gender Award 2022 for his demonstrated outstanding achievement in promoting gender equality and development within the thematic areas of the African Union’s Solemn Declaration on Gender Equity. Finally, on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, the government has increased the number of Judicial Officials which will go a long way in institutionalizing transformation which should in turn enhance access to justice especially by largely embracing technology which has since been incorporated in our courts during and post COVID-19.
Mohammed Obierotenyo Swaleh, RCrim, is and ELF-Africa Fellow under the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship (PSELF) Programme