Uncertainty as donors set to cut Sh5b contraceptive cash

Friday, October 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Donors who finance over 70 per cent of the country’s contraceptive procurement have already declared intention to withdraw their support. Photo/PD/File

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Government is yet to put in place a clear strategy on how it will ensure and sustain sufficient provision of contraceptives beyond June 2024.

 Donors who finance over 70 per cent of the country’s contraceptive procurement have already declared intention to withdraw their support with already a deficit of Sh9.1 billion experienced.

Attempts by People Daily to seek National Treasury’s commitment towards increased financing of Family Planning (FP) commodities, such as condoms, injectables, implants and pills among others have been futile.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani did not respond to a question whether the government will increase funding for FP commodities procurement beyond Sh800 million announced in the Financial Year 2020-2021.

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochahce did not offer any response despite inquiries on the same. Mochache is the accounting officer at the ministry.

 In November 2019 during the ICPD+25 conference held in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta made a commitment to ensure zero unmet need for family planning, and for this commitment to be realised, the need  for domestic financing of FP commodities is a no brainer.

It is argued that contraceptive programmes and effective contraception can increase economic growth per capita output by about 20-30 per cent and ensure sustainable use of environmental resource.

Every Sh100 ($1) invested in FP services saves between Sh400 to Sh700 ($4-$&) in healthcare costs, according to Guttmacher Institute.

Same period

In October last year, the donors – who were expected to spend about Sh8.7 billion buying contraceptives for the next five years - announced they will only spend about Sh3 billion over the same period and expect the government to foot the balance of about Sh5.8 billion.

The donors — the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), USAid  and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — said the cutbacks will be gradual, beginning the Financial Year 2019-2020 until 2025 when the government will fully take over the bill.  

DFID’s head of Human and Social development, Tessa Mattholie, said Kenya was now a middle-income country capable of financing its own family planning programme.

“In the next five years, we will be back to 100 per cent domestic funding for family planning,” Tessa said on Wednesday during last year’s World Contraception Day in Nairobi. 

Family Planning was fully funded by the Kenyan government before health services were devolved.

However, donors moved in when the devolved units failed to allocate money for the same since 2013.

FP commodity security takes up a large share of the resource requirement, yet the current  financing level is largely dependent on donor support that is inadequate or unsustainable, or both. 

Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Mercy Mwangangi told People Daily yesterday that once the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) process is completed in the next two weeks, it will be possible to have the rough estimates on how the FP commodity-financing budget will look like in the next Financial Year. 

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