Kenya women to benefit from free contraceptives
Kenya is among several countries in the developing world on the verge of benefiting immensely from renewed International commitment to ensuring access to contraception for poor women going by the resolutions of a London Summit on Family Planning held Wednesday.
The Summit, which was hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the British government resolved to provide an additional 24 million girls and women with family planning services between now and 2020.
The UK through the Department of International Development has committed £516m (about Ksh.54.7b) over the next 8 years to achieving the Summit goal of improving women’s access to contraception in the developing world.
Melinda Gates speaking on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation said that Kenya in particular had made significant strides towards ensuring good reproductive health for her citizens but added that more still needs to be done.
“…developing countries are offering up ambitious new national plans that will anchor a global effort. In recent years, Kenya has made significant progress in increasing access to family planning programmes and services. In 2010, it enacted a new Constitution that declares reproductive healthcare the right of all citizens,” said Melinda.
UK’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchel had this to say:
“This is an extraordinary breakthrough for millions of the world’s girls and women. Thanks to the pledges made today 120 million more women will be able to choose whether when and how many children to have,” said Mitchel.
All the developing countries which attended the summit also agreed to play their part in strengthening and promoting women’s rights to family planning and increase access to information, services and supplies.
Accodring to DFID, Kenya could see significant growth in the UK’s bilateral aid programme over the next four years.
“We spent £70 million in 2010/11 which could reach £150 million in 2014/15. Our Value for Money strategy will ensure our programmes achieve the maximum impact for the money spent,” read a statement from DFID.
In Kenya, studies on population census have revealed that the population is growing by an average of 3% every year and this is largely attributed to lack of access to family planning medicines especially among the country’s poor.
According to Anyang Nyong’o, the Minister of Medical Services, in 2011 family planning use in the country increased to 46% from 39% (KDHS- 2003 and 2008-9).
According to the ministry, the World health organization global reproductive health strategy in 2004 identified 5 core aspects of Reproductive Health and Sexual Health Services required to accelerate progress namely:
- Promoting sexual health,
- Improving antenatal, deliver, postpartum and newborn care;
- Providing high- quality Family Planning services, including infertility services;
- Eliminating unsafe abortions and miscarriages
- Combating STIs Including HIV/AIDS and other gynecological diseases that can lead to death or disability.
The summit deliberately coincided with July 11th which is traditionally the World population day. Britain’s funding will support country governments, and also be directed through the UN and NGOs, to fund family planning information, services and supplies as part of a package of essential health services.
By setting the goals, the family planning summit will stand to achieve a result in which over 200,000 fewer women and girls will die in pregnancy and childbirth related complications and nearly 3 million fewer infants will die in their first year of life.
By 2020, the goal will be to aim to deliver contraceptives, information, and services to a total of 380 million women and girls in developing countries so they can plan their families.
The United Nations Development Programme in Kenya estimates that the contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods among married women increased from 32% to 39% between 2003 and 2008 while at the same time, the use of 64 traditional methods decreased from 8% to 6% of married women. In Kenya, the unmet need for family planning, which is still considered high, has remained at 24 percent since 1998.