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."