REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

More women use contraception after giving birth – report

A new report shows contraception helps reduce inequalities between women in different socioeconomic groups.

In Summary

• Information on contraception is more readily available to women with children, hence contributing to the rise in teen pregnancies. 

• The rates of using contraception in Kenya are rapidly increasing among women in urban areas than those in rural areas. 

Different forms of contraception. AGENCIES
Different forms of contraception. AGENCIES

Women's access to paid work, education and participation in social activities will improve if their contraception needs are met, a new report shows. 

The 'Kenya in 2030: Young voices on future scenarios and contraception' report was released by the Form ni Gani initiative.

"... by reducing pregnancy-related injuries and deaths, while also reducing the burden on public amenities such as health, water and sanitation as well as education," reads the report.   

 

The document says that contraception helps reduce inequalities between women in different socioeconomic groups.       

This is done by encouraging family planning to reduce unintended childbearing, most common among poor, rural and uneducated women.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Countries that effectively reach people in these communities with contraception have fewer socio-economic differences in unplanned reproductive health outcomes," the report reads.                                                                                                               

According to the Ministry of Health, Kenya's contraceptive prevalence rate is 53.7 per cent, however, rates are increasing mostly in urban areas. 

The prevalence rate measures the percentage of women who are currently using or whose sexual partners are using at least one contraceptive method. 

However, the rates are increasing in urban areas, particularly among wealthier, more educated, married and post-middle-age segments of the Kenyan population. 

Other disparities affecting women's access to contraception include age, first pregnancy, education, culture, and religious practices.  

According to the report, these disparities tie in with early pregnancy because information on contraception is readily available to mothers after delivery. 

 

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014 shows the use of contraception among married women stands at 15 per cent. 

This increases as women continue to bear more children.

Those with between one and two children reported a 61.4 per cent use of contraception, while those with three or four children reported a 65.9 per cent use.

Low usage of contraception among women without children can also be attributed to socio-cultural perceptions that frown upon sexual activity and contraception before marriage.

Kenya's unmet need for contraception rose between 2003 and 2009 from 24.5 per cent to 25.6 per cent. 

"The unmet needs include women expressing a desire to space births at least two years apart or limit the number of births and hence forcing women who do not want to become pregnant but are not using contraception," reads the report. 

Unmet needs are connected to poor access to contraception, especially at community health facilities, irregular availability, and inadequate funding of contraception programmes. 

The report recommended reframing family planning to achieve relevance with the youth, financing programmes, correcting myths and misconceptions about contraceptives as ways to correct unmet needs for contraception. 

Others include ranking contraceptives higher in budget priorities, sharing responsibility on contraception messaging and approaching contraception needs in a Kenyan context. 

"Contraception may be perceived as a ploy by Western governments to reduce Africa's population and diminish economic strength," reads the report. 

"Messaging on contraception has to address this issue directly and comprehensively and state the interests and benefits associated with contraception."