, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – A research by Pathfinder International released on Thursday indicates that more Kenyan families are having unplanned children.
Pathfinder International Capacity Building Coordinator Pamela Onduso said up to one million children born every year in Kenya were accidental.
“Unplanned pregnancies contribute to high fertility; families having more children than they had planned. The population increases at high rates and today it has shot to 39 million even with so much loss of life,” she said.
Kenya’s population had remained low but there was an explosion in the 20th century, said Ms Onduso, adding that the figure was expected to hit 72 million by 2030.
She attributed the increased birthrates to high unmet needs for family planning methods.
With such a high population growth, Kenya’s economic growth will worsen due to maternal deaths, lack of jobs, diseases, lack of proper education and infrastructure among others all linked to the country’s incapability to handle the huge population.
Ms Onduso urged the government to invest in family planning methods to reduce the number of illegal abortions and also to manage the high population growth rate.
She further asked the government to increase family planning funds to Sh5.3 billion which could help the country save about Sh20 billion by 2015. “These savings are possible because if women have few children, the government spends less money to meet the needs of the population, it can then save money on education, immunisation, maternal health, malaria, etc.”
Abortion which has created controversy in the proposed constitution is also another issue that would have been resolved or reduced with increased use and provision of contraceptives.
National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCAPD) Chief Executive Officer Dr Boniface K’Oyugi as well called on all Kenyans to revert to controlling the number of children they are having.
Dr K’Oyugi announced that there were consultations going on to review the policy on family planning which would determine the number of children people should start having and other issues the government can address to manage the population.
As indicated in the report, in 1999 there were 15.4 million people living in poverty and by 2009 the numbers had increased to 17.9 million meaning that by 2030 close to 30 million people will be living in poverty.