The National Council for Population and Development in collaboration with the Department of Health and Partners organized a colourful event to mark this year’s World Population Day in Mombasa County. The event was held at the Tononoka Hall on 11. July 2018. This year’s event attracted dignitaries from the County Assembly, county and national governments and partners working in the area of Health. Over 200 residents of Mombasa joined the pompous event that also attracted a huge number of young people.

The event was aptly organized to also coincide with the launching of the Mombasa Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (FP CIP) for 2018-2022. This event will go down in the annals of history as it also marked 50 years since the Tehran Proclamation that recognized family planning as a human right. Thus the theme: “Family Planning is a Human Right” augured tremendously well with the activities of the day.

There was dance, edutainment and loads of information to make the case for family planning. The Beyond Zero clinic was at hand to offer family planning counseling and services as well as cervical cancer screening. 10 clients accessed cervical cancer screening services while 14 took up an FP method.  Apart from the unveiling of the Prince and Princess of Adolescent and Youth Sexual Reproductive Health (AYSRH), the FP CIP (2018-2022) was also unveiled.

While discussing the FP situation in the county, the County RH Coordinator, Mrs Emily Mwaringa highlighted the low contraceptive uptake and the eyesore of teenage pregnancies. In 2017, Mombasa County reported approximately 7,802 teen pregnancies. Of these, about 8.5 per cent were girls below 15 years of age.

The CPC, Margaret Mwaila discussed the demographic dividend for Mombasa County. She highlighted the challenges and investments required for a positive demographic dividend. In a snapshot, the CPC urged the County government to prioritize investments in health, education, skills development, economic empowerment and governance. She pointed out that the county’s labour force is growing rapidly requiring skills development and labour markets expansion. She warned on the dangers of reaping a negative dividend – increased poverty and conflicts, among others.

The Chief Guest, Hon. Kibwana Swalleh, the Chairman of the Health Committee delivered the keynote address calling for increased resources to family planning with a view to increasing family planning uptake. Planning families is key to reducing poverty

Excerpts from the keynote speech:

According to population projections by the UN, Kenya’s youth population (age 15-34) will increase from 17 million in 2015 to 24 million 2050. By 2065, the youth population will be 35 million. This age group is within the reproductive age, thus churning babies by the numbers. Even if this new generation will be having one or two children, their huge numbers will definitely not reduce the population growth momentum.

As we grapple with the rapid population growths that are unlikely to be resource-matched in African states and indeed Kenya, we are reminded of one magic bullet – Family Planning or birth spacing. Apart from saving lives, family planning has many more benefits to individuals, families, communities, countries and society as a whole. For example, family planning and birth spacing allows for investments and wealth creation at a familial level.”

The Chief Officer of Public Health, Ms Aisha Abubakar gave the vote of thanks.