Kenya marks world contraception day amid renewed optimism

Myths and misconceptions surrounding contraception have been cited as a major barrier to modern use of contraceptives.
Speaking during commemorations to mark this year’s World contraception day, head of promotive and preventive services at the ministry of health Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who was representing health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, said misinformed decisions have contributed to poor health outcomes for the mothers and their children.
“Despite our successes in family planning service provision, myths, misinformation, and misconceptions around modern contraceptives are an existential threat to family planning uptake in Kenya. In particular, the youth below the age of 25 constitute approximately 66% of the country’s population and are the most vulnerable constituency to myths and misinformation.” Observed the health CS.
He said the government is working towards improving sexual and reproductive health literacy to address contraceptive fears through appropriate and gender-specific interventions to reach the youths with factual information while at the same time strengthening the use of community outreaches and counseling by community health volunteers to influence knowledge, attitude, skills, and practices related to family planning use at the community level.
Speaking during the celebrations, UNFPA representative in Kenya Anders Thomsen commended the Kenyan government on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that sets up a sustainable financing mechanism for the procurement of Family Planning commodities, with the goal of gradually increasing the national budget allocation for the procurement of commodities up to 100% in 2026.
According to Lillian Mutea from USAID, by helping women and girls limit pregnancies, provision of family planning services is a cost-effective intervention that saves the lives of women and children.
While applauding progress made by Kenya in improving access to family planning, Dr. Samora Otieno from the Foreign commonwealth development office, said the unmet need for family planning has fallen from 18 % in 2014 to 14 percent currently. He however pointed out that there exist disparities among the different counties and between women in urban and rural areas.
According to Dr. Mohammed Sheikh, the Director General of the National council for population and development, this year’s theme breaking family planning myths in Kenya, resonates well with the government’s sustained efforts to ensure information and knowledge on voluntary family planning, which is universally accessible to all women of reproductive age in retaining and managing their desired families, is achieved.
World contraception day is premised on contraceptive choices that ensure every pregnancy is wanted by promoting family planning and contraceptive methods that are safe and preferred by the users.
Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris, who was among those present during the celebrations, called for a holistic approach to family planning to ensure all social economic characteristics of the unmet needs are comprehensively addressed.
Kenya has progressively recorded tremendous gains to improve use and access to family planning methods. In the wake of interruptions occasioned by the COVID -19 pandemic, the country developed national guidelines and innovative strategies to protect gains made in family planning such as use of tele-medicine services.