, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Women in Wajir are giving birth two times more than their counterparts in other parts of the country, according to the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey.
The survey indicates that Wajir women are having four times the number of children as their counterparts in Kirinyaga, at an average of eight children while those in Kirinyaga have an average of two.
Women in Nyeri and Kiambu come close to meeting the government goal of two children per household at an average of three children.
At the launch of the report on Thursday, Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said the numbers correlate with the use of contraceptives by women in those counties with only two percent of women in Wajir and Mandera using contraceptives compared to 76 percent in Kirinyaga.
“The story is that men from that region (Central) come in at 3am. You have no time to have babies at 3am. Others are too drunk to open the door, they sleep on the door step and then people jump over them as they go to milk their cows. That’s not true.”
“Why family size in Kirinyaga is 2.3 is simple, women are accessing family planning,” he said.
The Nyanza region on the other side of the spectrum recorded the highest number of deaths in children under five at 82 deaths per 1,000 children born; almost twice the number in Central.
The report also showed that male children are more likely than female children to die during their first year of life at 44 deaths versus 37 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The survey does however show a national decline in deaths of children under five from 74 in 2009 to 52 in a 1,000 live births; an improvement which Muraguri attributed to a decline in home deliveries.
“Ideally an expectant mother should have a health facility she can deliver in within 30 minutes of her home. And if the positive trend continues, names such as Mwanzia and Nzilani will become extinct.”
It’s also worth noting that while women in Wajir on average give birth to the highest number of children in the country, they are least likely to do so in a health facility with over 80 percent of the births in the county over the last five years being home deliveries.
Kiambu followed by Kirinyaga recorded the highest number of deliveries made in health facilities over the last five years at 93.4 and 92.5 percent respectively.
Under-five mortality rates in the two regions are however almost at par with North Eastern recording 44 deaths in every 1,000 live births and Central 42.
Seventy-seven percent of Kenyans say they prefer two to four children with men more inclined to want three or four which is the current national average.
The survey results are based on data collected from 36,430 households in the 47 counties between May and October, 2014.
The KDHS survey has been conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics every five years, with the support of USAID, since 1989 with the 2014 report being the first to contain county level information.