FAMILY PLANNING

Uptake of contraceptives rose by five per cent — survey

Most popular method for the unmarried women was male condoms at 29 per cent

In Summary

• The survey showed the uptake increased to 61 per cent in 2020 from 56 per cent in 2019.

• It was conducted by Performance Monitoring for Action and released on Thursday.  

Contraception is for both partners
Contraception is for both partners

The number of women using modern birth control methods increased by five per cent in 2020, the latest survey shows.

The survey showed the uptake increased to 61 per cent in 2020 from 56 per cent in 2019. It was conducted by Performance Monitoring for Action and released on Thursday.  

Information was collected from more than 9,000 women in 11 counties. Some 72 per cent reported receiving the contraceptive from a public service delivery point.

The counties include Kericho, Kitui, Nairobi, Nyamira, Siaya, West Pokot, Kilifi, Bungoma, Nandi, Kiambu and Migori.

The contraceptive use may have contributed to the decline in unintended pregnancies from 42 to 37 per cent in the same period, the survey shows.

Unmarried women were found to prefer short-acting methods like emergency contraceptive compared to their married counterparts. 

Male condoms were most popular among unmarried women at 29 per cent followed by the injectable and implants at 26 per cent.

Married women preferred injectable and implants at 39 and 37 per cent respectively.

PMA Kenya principal investigator Peter Gichangi said there is a case for constantly collecting information, analysing and using it to inform how the state responds to family planning needs.

According to the survey, 37 per cent of pregnancies in 2020 were unintended, with 28 per cent being mistimed and 10 per cent unwanted.

“About three in every 10 non-users intend to use contraception in the next 12 months,” the report states.

The survey shows that public and private hospitals experienced stock-outs of family planning commodities. Seventy per cent of the hospitals said they ordered the commodities but did not receive them. 

Ten per cent of the public hospitals reported that they experienced a dramatic increase in the demand for the family planning services. More than one per cent of the stock-outs were caused by Covid-19 disruptions.

Fifty-six per cent of women said they did not get comprehensive information on family planning services despite their willingness to plan and space childbirth. 

They sought information on side effects or problems, where to go for help, alternative contraceptive methods and whether they could change current ones.

PMA Kenya senior technical advisor at ICRH Mary Thiong’o said the scarcity of information can lead to women not being satisfied, which can contribute to discontinuation and uniformed method switching.

“This therefore calls for strengthening the quality of care and counselling services by the service providers,” Thiong’o said. 

Among women using a modern method that can be concealed, 15 per cent reported that their partner does not know that they are using contraception, the majority being adolescents, the report shows.

About five per cent of the married women reported that their partner tried to force or pressure them to become pregnant.

The study comes as health and development players have raised concerns about the rise in unintended pregnancies due to the lockdowns, curfews and disrupted services caused by the pandemic.

 

(edited by o. owino)