Myths and misconceptions surrounding contraception have been cited as a major barrier to modern contraceptive use.
Speaking during the commemorations to mark this year's World Contraception Day, the Ministry of Health's chief of prevention and promotion services, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who was representing the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, said that the Uninformed decisions have contributed to poor health outcomes for mothers and their children.
“Despite our successes in providing family planning services, myths, misinformation and misconceptions about modern contraception are an existential threat to family planning adoption in Kenya.
In particular, young people under the age of 25 make up approximately 66% of the country's population and are the electorate most vulnerable to myths and misinformation."
Observed the health CS.
She said the government is working to improve sexual and reproductive health literacy to address contraceptive fears through appropriate and gender-specific interventions to reach young people with factual information while also strengthening the use of community outreach and counseling by part of community health volunteers to influence.
knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices related to the use of family planning at the community level.
Speaking during the celebrations, UNFPA representative in Kenya, Anders Thomsen, commended the Kenyan government for signing a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a sustainable financing mechanism for the procurement of family planning products, with the aim of gradually increasing the allocation of the national budget for the purchase of essential products up to 100% in 2026.
According to Lillian Mutea of USAID, by helping women and girls limit pregnancies, the provision of family planning services is a cost-effective, life-saving intervention of women and children.
While applauding the progress made by Kenya in improving access to family planning, Dr. Samora Otieno of the Foreign Commonwealth development office said that the unmet need for family planning had dropped from 18% in 2014 to 14%.
However, she pointed out that there are disparities between different counties and between women in urban and rural areas.
According to Dr. Mohammed Sheikh, Director General of the National Council for Population and Development, this year's theme of breaking the myths of family planning in Kenya resonates well with the government's sustained efforts to ensure information and knowledge on voluntary family planning, which is universally accessible.
all women of reproductive age in retaining and managing their desired families.
World Contraception Day is based on contraceptive choices that ensure every pregnancy is wanted by promoting family planning and contraceptive methods that are safe and preferred by users.
Nairobi representative Esther Passaris, who was among those present during the celebrations, called for a holistic approach to family planning to ensure that all socio-economic characteristics of unmet need are addressed holistically.
Kenya has progressively made tremendous strides in improving use of and access to family planning methods.
Following the disruptions caused by the COVID -19 pandemic, the country developed national guidelines and innovative strategies to protect advances in family planning, such as the use of telemedicine services.
Kenya has seen an improvement in acceptance of family planning among women of reproductive age with 52 percent of those eligible, representing 5.2 million women, using modern family planning methods.
Speaking Thursday during a roundtable meeting with health journalists, the health ministry's chief of prevention and promotion services, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, said the government remains committed to addressing existing gaps with statistics indicating improvement.
This even as he expressed concern about the low uptake of family planning staples among men despite the fact that they have the greatest influence on reproductive affairs.
"If we don't deal with population now, we will deal with the negative impact of the population explosion in the immediate future," Mulwa observed.
With Kenya now classified as a middle-income country, Mulwa said the national government has gradually increased domestic funding for family planning commodities and the country is expected to fully fund its contraceptive budget needs by 2026.
“The government allocated 559 million shillings for basic family planning products.
in the fiscal year 2020-2021, 563 million shillings during 2021-2022, while 1,190 million shillings were set aside for the financial cycle 2022-2023,” Mulwa said.
Some partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and UNFPA, have pledged monetary support to close the financial gap with supply requirements of 2.5 billion shillings during this financial year.
Speaking before the same forum leader, the department of family health, Dr. Issak Bashir, denounced deep-seated social myths and misconceptions that he blamed on low acceptance among sections of the community.
According to Bashir, the country risks witnessing a cycle of perpetual poverty if the correct information and services are not available to the general population, the majority being young people.
But even as the push for greater acceptance of family planning commodities intensifies, experts have warned Kenyans not to take family planning commodities that have not been approved and registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).
According to Dr. Albert Ndwiga, manager of the family planning program at the Ministry of Health, some of the pills that have found their way onto the Kenyan market illegally are not safe to use.
Thursday's engagement between health journalists and senior health ministry officials came ahead of this year's World Contraception Day celebrations, which falls on September 26.
The 2022 theme is "Breaking Myths in Family Planning."
Kenya is set to implement a three-test HIV testing algorithm as it looks to streamline ongoing efforts to deal with the virus.
Speaking after receiving a preliminary report from a technical working group on the adoption of the procedure, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the field tests will be tested in selected counties before the national rollout.
“I congratulate and thank the members of the Task Force for showing professionalism and adhering to the WHO recommendations while undertaking the task,” said the Health CS.
According to Kagwe, this is the first time that a review of a testing algorithm has been carried out in the country in strict fidelity to the scientific process defined in a protocol recommended by the WHO and approved by an Ethical Review Committee and the National Science and Technology Commission.
Speaking during the ceremony, Acting Surgeon General Dr. Patrick Amoth said the task force's recommendations will be implemented as per the protocol and then adopted as the country's testing algorithm.
Task force chairman Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who is also the directorate's acting preventive and promotional health director, said there was sufficient evidence to indicate that the two-test algorithm was not optimal for HIV testing in the country.
He said the WHO has recommended a switch to a 3-test algorithm for countries with an HIV prevalence of less than 5%, while Kenya stands at 4.3%.
-Test algorithm according to WHO recommendation.
He was also required to contextualize the process of adaptation, implementation and feasibility of the algorithm of the three tests before submitting his report to the General Directorate of Health.
The adoption of the three-test HIV testing algorithm comes just a week after the Ministry of Health released the revised National Guidelines for HIV Treatment and Prevention.
The eleven-member working group that was constituted in March 2022 was made up of government officials, technical partners and research scientists.
The Ministry of Health has launched the National Reproductive Health Policy (2022-2032) as it moves to consolidate gains made in the health sector.
The policy, which seeks to address the age-specific needs of the entire life spectrum of the Kenyan population, contains bold steps aimed at achieving quality, universal reproductive health care and services in line with the right to the highest health status enshrined in the Kenyan constitution. Kenya 2010.
Speaking during the launch of the policy, Chief Health Secretary Susan Mochache, who was representing health CS Mutahi Kagwe, said the Kenyan government recognizes reproductive health as an essential component of the national development agenda as it moves forward. to consolidate the impressive gains made in the recent past that have unmasked new challenges that call for bold policy changes.
According to Mochache, the policy seeks to address Maternal Health, Family Planning, Reproductive Health for Adolescents and Young Adults, as well as Marginalized People and Age Cohorts in Reproductive Health. The policy further incorporates the special reproductive health needs of people born with disabilities.
“The National Reproductive Health Policy seeks to address the age-specific needs of the entire life cohort of the Kenyan population: from the reproductive health needs of a baby born intersex, to an adolescent seeking a guided understanding of changing that occur and protection from harm, as they move into adulthood, to the family seeking to prevent cancer of the reproductive organs, or struggling with a member affected by cancer of the cervix, ovary, breast, or reproductive tract, to the reproductive health needs of older citizens like menopause and andropause that have been silenced for too long in past political pronouncements.” Mochache said.
She said the policy release was delayed to allow for as much public input and divergent opinions as possible.
“Fellow Kenyans, I am fully aware that reproductive health is important and speaks to the very heart of a nation's existence, but let us have a healthy discourse as a nation by not allowing reproductive health to be the entry point of ill health through our bodies or our society. Rather, take it as an opportunity to protect your health's lifetime toward enjoying the highest possible state of health." Mochache said.
Speaking at the launch, Kenya Medical Association President Dr Simon Kigondu said the national reproductive health policy is key in ongoing health sector reforms, even as he urged stakeholders not to focus on their differences, but on protecting the women of Kenya.
“I hope the policy injects much-needed resources to address reproductive health challenges among Kenyan women,” said Dr. Kigondu.
The Director of Medical Services, Preventive Health and Promotion of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, said that the policy is intended to align reproductive health with the provisions of the constitution, as laid out in article 43 on the right to the highest possible standards of medical care.
"The document will guide the provision of reproductive health services that the public needs," Mulwa noted.
According to the Head of the Family Health Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Bashir Issak, the covid-19 pandemic exposed the weak points of the country and the challenges associated with the increase in teenage pregnancies in the country.
“We can no longer operate in a vacuum. We will have to go through the implementation process together.” Sent Dr. Bashir.
The policy also seeks to provide age-appropriate and culturally competent information and education to guide the nation in ensuring that reproductive health remains the cornerstone of good health and not a portal to negative health outcomes mindful of the role of information in shaping one's reproductive health trajectory.
We need solutions that focus on high impact but low cost interventions such as kangaroo care that require skin-to-skin contact between mother and newborn at no cost.NAIROBI, Kenya, November 12, 2021 / APO Group / -
A call to strengthen child survival programs across the country dominated discussions during the commemoration of World Pneumonia and Prematurity Days jointly celebrated Thursday in Nairobi.
Health actors deliberated on innovative technological solutions aimed at reducing the deaths of children under five through low-cost interventions for the protection, prevention and treatment of disease. They also called for strengthening child health services at the county level through targeted training and equipping facilities with life-saving commodities.
Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death in children under five. In 2018, the number of child deaths under the age of five in the country resulting from pneumonia stood at 9,000, which translates to at least one child dying every hour. In addition, 183,600 babies are born prematurely in Kenya with a birth rate set at 12%.
The Ministry of Health's acting director of preventive and promotional health services, Dr Andrew Mulwa, as he led the joint celebrations, said several measures were in place to reverse the trend.
"The two days are essential in the health calendar as they act as an advocacy tool to tackle the main causes of under-five and neonatal mortality which remains a major public health problem in our country," said Dr Mulwa to the assembly.
At the same time, he expressed his concerns about the increase in the number of premature babies even as he called for the need to support them as well as to tackle the deaths of children under five due to pneumonia.
“Interventions in place to ensure improved health outcomes for children under 5 include; increased use of medicines for the management of diarrhea in children under five, improved exclusive breastfeeding practices, introduction of new childhood vaccines such as pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, advocacy to ensure availability of essential medicines in facilities and strengthening community interventions to ensure early health care seeking behavior, '' noted Dr Mulwa.
The head of the Department of Family Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Issak Bashir, in his remarks urged communities to adopt simple and proven solutions to end premature child deaths. This includes the kangaroo care program which has been rolled out to 40 counties.
"We need solutions that focus on high impact but low cost interventions such as kangaroo care that require skin-to-skin contact between mother and newborn at no cost," said Dr Bashir.
Her feelings were echoed by Dr Caroline Mwangi, head of the neonatal and child health division at the ministry of health. Dr Mwangi said the division's vision was to have a Kenya where all newborns survive, thrive and live to their full potential.
“We also have a mandate to provide access to comprehensive and quality early childhood development interventions for children, especially in the first 1000 days of life. She informed the meeting.
Other inexpensive interventions to effectively improve premature survival include steroid injections to speed up baby's lung development and the rational use of antibiotics to treat neonatal sepsis.
Development partners who attended the event called for continued partnerships to scale up interventions and eliminate the drivers of newborn and child death at national and subnational levels.
Some of the drivers of pneumonia deaths in the under-five age group include; poor care seeking behavior, delays in seeking care / referral, lack of quality hospital care, ineffective treatment, suboptimal support for caregivers to obtain appropriate and timely medication and inappropriate or inadequate outpatient treatment.
In the past year, five counties reported a high prevalence of pneumonia in children, namely; Narok, Samburu, Westpokot, Marsabit and Mandera.
World Pneumonia Day will be celebrated on November 12 while World Prematurity Day will be celebrated on November 17, 2021. The 2021 theme for World Prematurity Day is “Zero separation act now” while the theme for the day world of pneumonia is "" stop pneumonia, every breath counts.
Some of the development partners who attended the joint celebrations included UNICEF, WHO, PATH, save the children, Nutrition International, NOVARTIS and CHAI.