Kisumu town tops in early sex among girls – survey
MORE than 75 per cent of women in Kisumu have had by the age of seven, a new study on reproductive health has revealed. A survey released yesterday shows that poor women have their first sexual experience earlier than in other towns with three out of four girls involved. The survey by the African Population and Health Research, John Hopkins University and the lead Tupange partner, shows that Kisumu also has a considerable amount of early child bearing between the age of 15 and 9, thus has the highest number of teenage pregnancies.
The survey shows that Kisumu has the highest number of males of between 15 to 24 years, constituting 42 per cent of the total area population. In the study men in Kisumu general marry, later than those in other towns but they end up getting as many children or more than the men in other cities surveyed.
With a third of Kenyans now living in urban areas, demand for services such as health, education, employment, housing and transportation has reached crisis point and experts say family planning must now be given priority as one of the most cost effective interventions. These were some of the findings of the Kenyan urban reproductive health baseline survey released yesterday by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
The survey was carried out in Nairobi, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa and Kakamega. The data from the survey suggests an urgent family planning programme in Kisumu, especially among the younger age group,” said Ibrahim Shivalo, when releasing the results in the town. The survey was carried out to establish the demand and supply interventions that can facilitate more uptakes of family planning services for urban populations.
The Kenyan Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, known as Tupange, also released results of the family planning service delivery point and the urban reproductive health supply chain surveys. According to the survey, approximately one in four men in Kisumu town has the knowledge about men's fertile days while men in Mombasa had the less understanding of their fertile days.
On the other hand, women in Kisumu have the least knowledge of their fertile period compared to other cities. The survey also found out that basic knowledge of reproductive physiology remained low in cities. The proportion of births delivered by traditional births attendants is also high in Kisumu with more than 15 per cent deliveries being assisted by friends and relatives and 11 per cent in Mombasa. The surveys contradicts past perception that many women failed to use contraceptives because of opposition from their partners or religious reasons, with many citing lack of frequent sexual activity as the major reason.
Unmarried sexually active women are the worst affected by lack of access to family planning services, the poor for whom life in urban areas present the biggest challenges have less access than wealthy women. “The survey shows high level misinformation around family planning service in Kisumu with most men associating it with promiscuity,” said Shivalo.
The poor uptake of contraceptives has partly been blamed for the country’s dismal rating in maternal survival. Kenya, unlike other countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, has in the past 10 years recorded an increase in the maternal mortality ratio thereby justifying the need for reproductive health initiatives.