BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIRTOBI, 26TH SEPT,2021-Every woman and girl has the right to decide if, when, and how many children they want.
Every year on Sept 26, Nations around the world reflect on the importance of contraception and its right; in 2021, 58 million African women are still unable to obtain contraception even though they want to.
In Kenya, statistics from the health information system show that for the financial year 2019/2020, family planning visits dropped to about 5 million visits from about 5.4 million visits the previous year.
Data also shows that the percentage of married women using modern methods of family planning has increased from 36% in 2007 to 61% currently.
The Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Rashid Aman, was speaking during the 2021 World Contraception Day celebration when he said that contraception is a key component of sustainable development, empowering women, reducing the risk of maternal and child mortality, and promoting economic growth.
Dr Aman however added that while contraception services have remained largely accessible to people in the high-income bracket, marginalized groups and persons living with disabilities have not been so lucky.
“A larger number of Kenyans in rural and remote areas were unable to make hospital visits either due to distance or to minimize the risk of contracting Covid 19, additionally, a significant number of Kenyans lost their sources of livelihood due to the pandemic and this has seen them prioritize the provision of basic needs for their families as opposed to reproductive health care,” he said.
According to the CAS, in the financial year 2021/2022 the health budget has increased from Ksh 111.7 billion to Ksh 121.1 billion, funds which will largely go towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which also covers family planning services.
Dr Aman in addition noted that men are key players in this conversation on Family Planning with responsibility for the good of the family.
“In the Spirit of our theme, Leaving no one behind: Expanding Sustainable Access to Contraceptives in the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond, we welcome every stakeholder particularly representatives of vulnerable and marginalized populations to provide information and avail themselves for discussions surrounding Family Planning towards progressively improving access for all.”