NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Despite the threat of COVID-19, the family planning community has broken through barriers to transform the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries through improved means and access to contraceptives.
According to Family Planning 2020 (FP 2020) progress report, Kenya is still on track to meet its family planning goal for modern contraceptive prevalence, with more than 2.2 million unintended pregnancies prevented, and 503,000 unsafe abortions averted in the last year alone.
320 million women and girls in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries now have access to family planning, according to new figures released by FP2020.
The report published on Tuesday details the progress achieved in family planning over the past eight years.
In 13 low-income countries, the number of modern contraceptive users has doubled since 2012, and more than 121 million unintended pregnancies, 21 million unsafe abortions, and 125,000 maternal deaths were prevented in the last year alone.
Kenya, among countries that committed to the FP2020 partnership, has made great progress toward increased uptake of family planning.
As a result of contraceptive use in Kenya, more than 2 million unintended pregnancies were prevented, and 503,000 unsafe abortions and 5,700 maternal deaths averted in the last year alone.
Significant progress has been made in Africa, where, as of July 2020, the number of users of modern methods of contraception had grown by 66% since 2012, from 40 million to more than 66 million women and girls.
In Eastern and Southern Africa, the number of modern contraceptive users has grown by 70% since 2012. Kenya has recorded an additional 1,899,000 women who have begun using modern contraceptives, placing the contraceptive prevalent rate at 42.5pc among all women in Kenya.
Kenya was one of the first countries in Africa to develop COVID-19 guidelines for reproductive health, issuing a guidance document in April 2020 with practical recommendations for the continuation of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and family planning services during the pandemic.
“The coordinated effort of the partnership has safeguarded family planning as an essential health service. This response appears to have largely averted the worst-case scenario, however, more work is needed to mitigate this challenge,” the FP2020 report indicated.
There, however, remains an 18.6pc of married women in the reproductive age (15–49 years) with the unmet need of contraception.
“Since 2012, the family planning movement has gained huge momentum. Yet big challenges remain. With every day that passes, millions are denied the right to choose their own future. As we look ahead to 2030, we must continue to push for progress, build on what works well, and ensure we leave no woman or girl behind,” Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020, said.
On account of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is estimated that there will be an additional 15 million unintended pregnancies globally over the cause of the year due to unmet need for modern contraceptives.
“There is need to address religious inhibitions that stymie contraceptive uptake especially in the high unmet need regions. Efforts should promote maternal education and economically empower women in order to reinforce individual and contextual attitudes towards the benefits of contraception. The government should also establish social franchise programs to increase access to costly long acting and permanent methods of contraception to poor women,” Schlachter stated.
Overall, the report stated that Kenya has surpassed its 2020 target of 58pc contraceptive use by married women.