Picture of Ivyonne Kimani
by Ivyonne Kimani - Tuesday, 5 June 2018, 3:37 AM

We know that a person becomes poor when he or she is unable to exchange his goods or services for money. When a person cannot find market to sell his or her products, services, or farm produce, he or she ends up being poor. Nearly 95% of people living in Kenya are unable to find market for more than 80% of their farm produce. Kenyan subsistent croppers and pastoralists living in rural areas are extremely impoverished because they cannot find market for their produce. The only available market comes in form of organized cartels who buy the farm produce and livestock at a throwaway price. Even at this throwaway price, cartels are only able to purchase less than 20% of all the post-harvest produce. The rest goes to waste. Perishable produce such as fruits, vegetable, flowers, animal products are rotting away in the villages of Kenya. This extreme waste of produce of the land eliminates all possibility of generating wealth among local people, and multiplies, by several orders of magnitude, the rotting capital in the country (see e.g., de Soto, 2002). This rotting capital is in order of 700 times our gross domestic product (GDP). Otherwise stated, we could multiply our GDP by 700 times, should we discover how to sell the rotting produce, products and services in our counties.

No Market No Money

With nowhere to sell produce, a subsistent cropper or a livestock producer slides into extreme poverty. When sick, she is afraid to seek medical service until the disease advances and becomes incapacitating. She is forced by worsening disease to seek medical care and arrives at a medical facility without adequate money to pay for medical service. Her money does not cover for the medical service offered by the provider at the medical facility. The provider reduces the quality and quantity of service offering to match the little money available from the patient.

Quality Quagmire

The problem is that the provider of medical service receives hundreds of patients with advanced disease, but with little or no money. In most cases, the patient cannot pay anything at all. This severe lack of money to pay the providers in Kenya has led to a severe decline in the quality of medical service. Many owners of health facilities have to cut-corners just to make ends meet. Cutting corners by a medical provider means cutting a critical service, increased risk of worsening of disease, medical errors, or introduction of new diseases.

Distressed medical providers in Kenya are offering the lowest quality of medical service experienced in the world. Low quality medical service is a serious health hazard to the people, which by itself results in death of health consumers in many instances. Health providers are seriously concerned by this problem. Without access to money however, and surrounded by masses of people with advanced disease, they are between a rock and a hard place. This is the quandary of health service.