, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 –The government has appealed to women to adopt family planning and reproductive health services to improve the quality of life.
Public Health Assistant Minister Dr James Gesami said increased access to reproductive health services and use of contraceptives leads to a decrease in maternal mortality.
Speaking at a three-day conference on acceleration of access to family planning services, Dr Gesami said if the government invested Sh5.3 billion into family planning, it would in the long term save Sh20.3 billion.
“These are costs that will otherwise be incurred from an increased demand in government services such as education, immunisation, water and sanitation, maternal health and even malaria. Family planning reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, the number of abortions performed and the number of maternal deaths,” Dr Gesami said.
He said the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development predicts that Kenya’s population would nearly double by 2030 to reach 71.5 million if the current growth rate continued.
“Part of this growth is tied to Kenya’s relatively young population and to poverty levels. Slightly more than four in 10 Kenyans are under the age of 15 and the population remains poor and largely rural while 71 percent of urban dwellers live in slums,” the government official said.
“We must do more to reach people with information on the health and social benefits of family planning,” he said.
The meeting hosted by United States Agency for International Development aims at identifying gaps in reproductive and family planning services as well as mark the end of a five year USAID funded project on Extending Service Delivery (ESD).
The conference brings together USAID’s partners in Sub Saharan Africa who include Angola, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan and Tanzania.
A study that was conducted by the Centre for the Study of Adolescents last year showed that 60 percent of married women did not use any contraception. The report indicated that only 32 percent of married women used modern method of contraception while eight percent used traditional methods.
The report further indicated that 47 percent of men were of the opinion that women who used contraception could become promiscuous, 44 percent were of the opinion that a woman was the one who became pregnant so she should be the one to get sterilised while 24 percent thought contraceptive use was a woman’s affair and a man should not have to worry about it.