While the World Contraception Day is globally celebrated on September 26, the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MoH), UNFPA and other partners organized a national event with a difference. At the national level, the day was not just about sensitizing communities about contraception and providing services, it was about advocacy for community security through domestic financing. It was about linking family planning and the achievement of the demographic bonus in Kenya and looking at progress made. It was also about sensitization and advocacy for ICPD25 Nairobi Summit and Kenya’s commitments.
Before the event on October 2, 2019, the organizing team, comprising of: NCPD, MoH, UNFA, Population Services Kenya (PSK), AMREF Health Care, HealthStrat, German Foundation for World Population (DSW), Network of Adolescents and Youth of Africa (NAYA), Maries Stopes Kenya (MSK), the Council of Governors (CoG), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and Bayer East Africa, sensitized the media and the public about the event.
A panel discussion was organized to mainly discuss strategies that can be used to increase domestic financing for family planning in Kenya. The panellists discussed strategies and their roles in ensuring a well-funded and vibrant family planning programme. Key strategies included:
- consider total market approach and re-engineering of the health system so that payment for services is targeted. – the system should only support free services to vulnerable groups
- Consistent analysis of the market dynamics to ensure balanced supply and demand. This will cut on stock-out and reduce unmet need for family planning
- enabling legislation that allows the private sector to provide FP services and also contribute to quality data capture and management for real-time service delivery
- Meaningful engagement of young people – inform, sensitize, educate young people on the benefits of contraception
- Strengthened collaboration with civil society
- Prioritize family planning at national and county level by providing budget lines
- Sensitize the Parliament on family planning to support and pass proposals for increased resource envelope.
The Panelists were drawn from MoH – Dr Sheikh, the Parliamentary Network on Population and Development (PNPD) – Hon Dr Ochanda, the Private Sector – Dr Daniella Munene, the Development Partners for Health in Kenya (DPHK) – Dr Tessa Mattholie and Civil Society including Youth – Dr Anne Gitimu.
Mr Peter Nyakwara of NCPD made a presentation on ICPD25 Nairobi Summit. This was meant to sensitize participants on the upcoming summit and also inform them of what progress has been made in terms of preparations.
The objectives of ICPD25 Nairobi Summit are:
- Obtain a strong political commitment for the Cairo ICPD agenda.
- Create political and financial momentum to advance the ICPD agenda, as an indispensable part of Agenda 2030 concentrating on preventable maternal mortality, unmet need for FP and eliminating violence against women and harmful practices.
- Offer an inclusive platform for a broad range of member states and other stakeholders to come together around the universally applicable principle of right and choice for all.
The above objectives will be addressed in the following thematic areas:
- Creating financial momentum.
- Getting to zero essential SRHR packages of interventions and UHC.
- Demographic transition and sustainable development.
- Getting zero GBV and harmful practices.
- SRHR in humanitarian and fragile contexts.
The Cross-Cutting Accelerators that will help magnify the Impact of the ICPD POA are:
- Women’s empowerment and gender equity
- Youth leadership
- Political and Community leaders
- Innovation and data
- Strategic Partnership and South- South Cooperation
The keynote address was delivered by Hon. Sicily Kariuki, EGH, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health. The following are highlights of her address:
- Making the case for resourcing of family planning in Kenya: “The investment case for resourcing of contraception and broadly reproductive health services is undisputed; Evidence informs us that every $1 invested in contraceptive services will save $2.20 in maternal and newborn healthcare as a result of a decline in unplanned pregnancies. Further to this, the data also demonstrates a 75% decline in induced abortions and a 75% reduction in maternal deaths”.
- Showing the link between family planning and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Progress made towards ensuring health for all (Linda Mama Project, Beyond Zero Initiative, Youth Friendly Services
- Challenges: Teenage pregnancies are contributing to high maternal mortality and morbidity; The early marriages and cultural barriers continue to limit access and utilization of maternal and child health services including FP; There is inequity and geographical disparity in accessing MCH/FP and RH services
As a way forward, the CS health called for:
- a multi-sectoral approach to FP and harmonization with Ministry of Education and Gender.
- Increased financing for the health sector, including the resourcing of FP and RH services.So far only Kes.5b has been allocated for health
- the National Scale-up of the UHC, to ensure focus on inequalities, particularly in marginalized counties with high fertility and low family planning use; we need to ensure “no one is left behind”
- Enhanced use of technology and innovation in access to reproductive health information especially for the Youth and Adolescents.
- A stop to any debate on lowering of age of consent. She asked parliament not to start such a discussion
- more focus on men to support health uptake, e.g HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC). Men need to know their status.
- Leaders to champion the healthy course
As guests stood to leave, the message was loud and clear:
Advocacy and resource mobilization for family planning are key in accelerating attainment of the aspirations of population-related policies. With the right investments in Family Planning. Kenya can achieve a demographic bonus characterized by:
- increase in Contraceptive Prevalence Rate from 58% to 70%
- reduction in Fertility – TFR will drop from 3.9 to 2.1 children per woman
- rise in completed education years from 6 to 11 among adults and
- Nearly 90 per cent of the working-age population will be engaged in economic activities