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Biostatistics, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 605

Research Paper

There are three main risks addressed in the paper regarding Kenyan youth: 1) increased susceptibility of hunger; 2) the spectre of HIV/AIDS, and; 3) quality of drinking water.  Due to the nature of famine, nearly all Kenyan teens are potentially vulnerable to hunger.  While the of the crisis is centered around the country of Somalia, there are nearly 4 million individuals currently starving in Kenya- the drought has increased already high malnutrition rates (Zarocostas, 2012).  Malnutrition rates are higher and have greater consequences among the young: this is because they are more susceptible to disease and death related to developing immune systems.

Cyclical disasters, such as drought, have also played into existing structural public health risks such as HIV/AIDS.  Indeed,  like many countries in Africa, Kenya has an above-average HIV/AIDs prevalence rate of 6.3% of individuals between ages 15-49[1];  youth are particularly at-risk for HIV/ AIDS: The majority of new HIV infections occur among young women ages 15-24 and young men under the age of 30.  An increasing number of prevention programs have entered the country to deal with the problem including UNAIDS (a joint UN program on HIV/AIDS) and national government programs- the main focus is on education and testing as a means to promote responsible sex among youth.

Finally, clean drinking water (and associated ) is another public health risk.  Although sections of Kenya have clean drinking water, urban areas  have particular difficulty providing clean drinking water.  Indeed, Kimiani-Murage and Ngindu (2007) found that a majority of urban slum  watering holes had human excrement and other bacteria; this contamination can lead to a host of conditions including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, and schistosomiasis. According to the report by APHRC in 2002, prevalence of diarrhea was 32% among children below 5 years of age in the slums, which is double the rate for Nairobi and the national average.

I selected the topic of Kenyan youth and HIV/AIDS for my research topic.  Looking at the available literature, there are numerous sources that have basic prevalence statistics for HIV/ AIDS in Kenyan youth.  Overall, the rate of HIV/AIDS for youth between the ages 0-18 in Kenya (8.0%) is higher than the global average; however, it is actually lower than that found in other African countries.  Indeed, the highest level of HIV/ AIDS is concentrated in urban slums where HIV/AIDS education, retroviral therapy, and medical services are hard to access (Kabiru, 2011).  In addition to basic prevalence statistics, perhaps the most important statistic is the number of Kenyan youth that do not get HIV/AIDS due to education prevention, and are actively treated via the retroviral cocktail- pharmaceutical treatment that will improve quality and quantity of life.  According to work by Duflo et al. (2008), education has an important impact on preventing HIV/AIDS- particularly in resistant pockets such as urban areas.  If education is not possible to prevent the spread  of HIV/AIDS, then retrovirals play an important role in preventing further spread.

Sources

Duflo, E., Dupas, P., Kremer, M., & Sinei, S.  (2008). Education and HIV/AIDS prevention: evidence from a randomized evaluation in western Kenya.  World Bank Working Paper.

Kabiru, C.W., Beguy, D., Crichton, J., Zulu, E.M. (2011).  HIV/AIDS among youth in urban informal (slum) settlements in Kenya: what are the correlates of and motivations for HIV testing? BMC Public Health, Open Access.

Kimani Murage, E.W., Ngindu, A.M. (2007).  Quality of water slum dwellers use: the case of a Kenyan slum.  Journal of Urban Health, 6, 829-838. WHO. (2011). Kenya: HIV/AIDS Update

Zarocostas, J. (2012).  Famine and disease threaten millions in drought hit Horn of Africa.  British Medical Journal.

[1] Although Kenya’s prevalence rate is below the African average, it is above the global average.

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