• Youth who are sexually active are reported to contribute lesser to contraceptive use as compared to married adults.
• Unsafe abortion accounts for 15 per cent of all maternal deaths in Kenya.
The contraceptives prevalence rate in Kenya has risen to more than 61 per cent, according to new data from the Ministry of Health.
This surpasses the 2020 target of 58 per cent. However, the youth who are sexually active are reported to contribute lesser to the achievement as compared to married adults. Only three in every 10 young women are using a modern contraception method.
This leads to a high rate of unplanned pregnancies among young people that leads to abortion, most of which is procured in back-street alleys due to lack of funds or stigma associated with pregnancy at a young and unmarried age. Unsafe abortion accounts for 15 per cent of all maternal deaths in Kenya.
As we celebrate World Contraception Day on September 26, more robust approaches to address the gaps are needed. The UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which will be hosted in Kenya later this year, calls for expanded access to high-quality family planning services to meet individual needs.
Therefore, a concerted effort needs to be put in place to expand equitable access to the underserved population of young people by designing innovative youth-friendly programmes to reach the youth. This could include helplines, peer outreach programmes and text messaging to make family planning information and services easily accessible.
This will save lives by reducing the number of both unsafe abortions and maternal deaths among women of reproductive age. It will also reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among the productive generation.
Forums should be organised to reach out to youths in rural areas who may miss out on information due to lack of modern technology.