Pregnancy crisis as donors cut family planning funding

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 08:10 |
Pregnancy crisis.

Kenya is facing a contraceptives shortage crisis following a warning by donors that funding is drying up.

The international aid agencies also expressed concern over the government’s apparent reluctance to commit more funds to family planning programmes with latest figures showing an explosion in teen pregnancies.

According to a report by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), Narok and Homa Bay counties top with 40 per cent and 34 per cent respectively in teenage pregnancies as the numbers continue to rise.

According to the UK Department for International Development Basic Services Team Leader Tessa Mattholie, the government is expected to provide funding when the five-year, Sh4.7 billion funding for family planning programmes ends.

“We, as donor agencies, have been helping the government accelerate family planning strategies since devolution took effect. Devolution created confusion in the health sector especially on funding, but it is high time the government picks up from here,” she said.

Mattholie, who was speaking yesterday during the World Contraception Day celebrations in Nairobi, said donors have communicated to the government on their intention to cut funding.

Abortion services

This comes in the wake of the US President Donald Trump’s Global Gag Rule, which prohibits foreign NGOs who receive US global health assistance from providing abortion services, referrals and advocacy for abortion law reform.

The ripple effect for the dwindling donor funds is worrying in a country in which nearly one in five teenagers is a mother.

NCPD data shows the national teenage pregnancy prevalence rate stood at 18 per cent in the 47 counties between July 2016 and June 2017. 

This means 378,397 adolescent girls aged between 10 and 19 years presented with pregnancy in health facilities during that period.

Teenage pregnancies not only compromises attainment of quality education but also ability of the young mothers to secure decent economic opportunities.

“High morbidity and mortality rates for both the mother and the child, early child marriages and economic and social burden on families are just some of the implications of early child bearing,” said the NCPD report.

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (2014) lists West Pokot, Tana River, Nyamira and Samburu among the top counties with young mothers below the age of 20 years.

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