Table 1

Description of levels of care in Kenya

Level 1Community
  • Care outside facility in households, communities and villages

  • Maximum population served: 5000

Level 2Dispensaries/clinics
  • Has limited staff (nurses, public health technicians and assistants)

  • Responsible for community engagement through curative, promotive, preventive and rehabilitative care at a basic level

  • Up to four beds for observation

  • Maximum population served: 10 000 (rural)—15 000 (urban)

Level 3Health centres
  • Staffed by nurses, clinical officers and occasionally doctors

  • Wider range of curative and preventive services than level 2

  • Provide minor surgical services, like incision and drainage

  • Basic emergency preparedness

  • 12–49 beds

  • Maximum population served: 30 000–40 000

Level 4Primary hospitals
  • Provide referral level outpatient care, curative and preventive care, surgical treatment techniques and comprehensive emergency services

  • Provide clinical services in obstetrics and gynaecology, child health, medicine, and surgery and anaesthesia

  • Inpatient care and 24 h service

  • Minimum 50 beds

  • Maximum population served: 100 000 (rural)—200 000 (urban)

Level 5–6Secondary/tertiary hospitals
  • Higher concentration of resources and personnel (medical professionals, nurses and midwives)

  • Provide clinical services in medicine, general surgery and anaesthesia, paediatrics, and obstetrics/gynaecology, dental, psychiatry, comprehensive accident and emergency, ENT, ophthalmology, dermatology, ICU

  • Minimum 50 beds

  • Maximum population served: 1 000 000

  • ENT, ear, nose, and throat; ICU, intensive care unit.