C-Change Helps the Kenyan Government Accelerate Family Planning Efforts
The Government of Kenya (GOK) officially launched the national reproductive health strategy and guideline documents on April 22, 2010 with support from USAID, WHO, GTZ, Liverpool VCT, and implementing partners including C-Change, FHI, JHPIEGO and Population Council. Launched under the theme: “Acceleration of Maternal, Newborn, and Family Health Interventions for the Achievement of MDGs and Vision 2030,” the documents mark a national recommitment to family planning (FP) efforts by the GOK. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MoPHS) Mark Bor headlined the launch and said “the survival and well-being of mothers and children is central to attainment of sustainable development for the people of Kenya.”
In her remarks, Dr Sheila Macharia, USAID Kenya Senior Health Officer said “…the reality of the MDG goals has brought a global realization that a more comprehensive approach is needed towards health of families and communities.” She pledged continued US Government support in the distribution, dissemination and implementation of the strategies through USAID implementing partners.
C-Change coordinated media outreach. This included a print media supplement highlighting the current reproductive health situation in Kenya and the challenges and priorities for the government, and a series of live national television programs where MOH experts were interviewed.
The documents released include: The National Reproductive Health Strategy 2009-2015; National Reproductive Health Communication Strategy 2010-2012; Revised National Family Planning Guidelines for Service Providers; National Reproductive Health Research Agenda 2010-2014; and Guidelines on Management of Sexual Violence in Kenya.
Kenya’s average total fertility in 2010 is between 4-5 children per woman. Social and cultural beliefs and practices, gender dynamics, lack of male involvement, and weak health management systems continue to impede the demand for and utilization of reproductive health care. Contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) has modestly improved to 46% from 39% in 2003. Despite this, the Government acknowledges that this falls far below the national target for CPR of 56% by 2015. Meanwhile, Kenya’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 410 per 100,000 live births has not improved. Unmet need for FP is 24%.
The Division of Reproductive Health has prioritized three key actions to accelerate implementation of FP programs: improving commodity security; increasing uptake of FP services; and ensuring adequate financial resources for FP. C-Change is working to strengthen the capacities of Government agencies to coordinate a focused communication campaign. It is also providing technical assistance to implementing partners to design and implement communication intervention in FP programs. The ultimate goal is to assist individuals to make informed decisions and determine their own reproductive intentions and what is best for their families.