“Did you know that only last year (2017), the Government of Kenya spent Kes.613million on post abortion care services?” (In Their Hands Project Manager)

 

Challenge of Unplanned pregnancies

Unplanned/Unintended pregnancies have become a big challenge, especially those happening among adolescents and youth. A 2017 report by Ministry of Health (National Aids Control Council (NACC), 2017 Fact sheet) places adolescent fertility (births) at a national average of 26 per cent having increased from 18 per cent reported by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS, 2014). This translates to almost 3 teenagers for every 10 nationally but in Coast Region, five counties reported a much higher fertility compared to the national average. In Lamu, pregnancy was reported in four out of every ten adolescents. The figure below gives a sad picture on the teenage pregnancy pattern in the region:

County % Teen Pregnancy (KDHS2014) % Teen Pregnancy (MoH2017)
Mombasa 17 19
Kwale 24 37
Kilifi 22 30
Tana River 28 39
Lamu 10 40
Taita Taveta 13 33

 

A recent report on sexual risk behavior among adolescents in Kilifi county by Ssewanyana and others observed that sex for money/gifts is a major risky behavior resulting from lack of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) information and youth friendly services. Both boys and girls engage in this form of sexual behavior. Adolescents have little concern on the high risks of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

 

In Their Hands Project

In Their Hands is a new project that started last year and seeks to promote adolescent sexual health, reduce pregnancies and end unsafe abortions among Kenyan adolescents. It seeks to support ASRH in 18 counties in Kenya – among them Mombasa and Kilifi counties. The project mainly targets girls 15-19 years and runs from 2017 to 2020 with funding from the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

Given the ever increasing cases of teen pregnancies, In Their Hands has an innovative approach that has gained commitment for support from both the Kenyan and German governments. The project will continue working in the same area but has been expanded to offer more services. Apart from offering Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) information to girls and services from private providers, the Kenyan government has requested that all public facilities in the project working areas be included in the project. The expanded project will also include services such as training on and starting agricultural businesses and vocational training, HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) screening and vaccines for adolescents, provision of sanitary towels and checkups (screening) for some Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The overall goal of the project is to reduce unplanned pregnancies among the 15-24 year olds by increasing uptake of sexual reproductive health (SRH) information and services. It is planned that various forms of media will be used including interviews, broadcast, print and social platforms. Some expected results of the project are:

a. Reach 250,000 girls with contraceptive and HTC information and services
b. Prevent 58,000 pregnancies and 21,430 abortions

Also, the partners have also been expanded to incorporate Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), DSW, Government of Kenya (GoK) relevant units at national and county level. Marie Stopes Kenya (MSK), Triggerise and Well Told Stories (Shujaaz) were the initial partners.
The expanded project will be rolled out in 2019 and His Excellency the President of Kenya will be expected to launch it in Kilifi, Mombasa, Nairobi and Migori counties at the earliest opportunity.

 

 

Photo: Faith Action Network

Photo: UNFPA

 

For more information contact Margaret Mwaila on mmwaila@ncpd.go.ke