The Most Common Preventable Illnesses in Kenya

preventable illnesses

Kenya, like many countries, grapples with various health challenges that significantly impact the average lifespan of its citizens. While progress has been made in healthcare, preventable illnesses continue to affect a significant portion of the population. Understanding these diseases and their preventive measures is crucial in improving public health outcomes.


Malaria remains one of the leading preventable illnesses in Kenya. Transmitted through mosquito bites, this disease poses a significant health risk, particularly in regions with high mosquito activity. However, it’s preventable and treatable with proper measures. Insecticide treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and prompt treatment with anti-malarial drugs significantly reduce the risk of serious illness. Research shows that there has been a reduction in malaria parasite prevalence by almost 50% over the past ten years.

Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Water contamination and poor sanitation sometimes lead to gastrointestinal diseases in Kenya, like cholera and dysentery. The northern region of Kenya has been dealing with a cholera outbreak partially caused by severe drought since October of last year. From October through late March 2023, there were over 7,800 cases and over 120 deaths. Promoting proper hygiene practices, ensuring access to safe drinking water, and proper sanitation facilities are essential for reducing morbidity and mortality.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections, including pneumonia, affect a considerable number of Kenyans, especially children and the elderly, despite being among some of the most common preventable illnesses. Factors like air pollution, poor sanitation, and overcrowded living conditions contribute to the prevalence of these illnesses. Routine preventative measures such as vaccination, hand hygiene, improving indoor air quality, and access to clean water can play a pivotal role in preventing respiratory infections.


While progress has been made in preventing and managing the spread of HIV/AIDS, it still remains a major health concern in Kenya. Education about safe sex practices, access to testing, and antiretroviral therapy are essential in preventing the spread of the virus. HIV surveillance is also a key element in preventing the spread of the virus. Additionally, reducing stigma and promoting awareness are vital in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Breast Cancer

In Kenya, breast cancer is a significant health concern, as it affects women across many socioeconomic backgrounds. Kenya grapples with challenges in early detection and limited access to preventative healthcare. Late-stage diagnosis remains prevalent, which can lead to poor treatment outcomes. A shortage of specialty doctors has also led to less access to proper care and treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Colon Cancer

Screening for colon cancer remains relatively low in Kenya, leading to diagnoses often at advanced stages when treatment options become limited and disease can progress rapidly. Access to specialized medical facilities, colonoscopy procedures, and trained professionals for early detection and treatment is limited in many regions of the country.

Stop the Spread of Preventable Illnesses in Kenya

At the Sollay Kenyan Foundation, we believe that every Kenyan’s life matters. Your life matters, and you matter! Sollay Kenyan Foundation is a non-profit that cares about working with communities throughout Kenya to help children, families, and communities receive equal access to the primary care and focused specialty care that they need to thrive. Sollay Kenyan Foundation is a non-profit organization.  With your support and the support of our existing donors and volunteers, we hope to help the people of Kenya realize their full potential and thrive. To make a donation and learn more, click here.