Kenya hopes to cut birth rate with contraceptive campaign

After years of neglect due to a surge in funding for HIV/AIDS control programmes, Kenya is launching a birth control campaign on Tuesday, local media reported.

Only 39 percent of married Kenyan women use a modern family planning method and almost half of pregnancies are unwanted, according to a 2008-2009 government survey. Thousands of women die each year from backstreet abortions.

“A shift in priorities eroded the momentum leading to gaps in service provision and awareness,” George Kichamu of the National Council of Population and Development told Business Daily.

“Families have had little control over their birth rate due to lack of information and access to facilities.” 

Between 1995 and 2001, annual funding for family planning in Kenya halved, from $12 to $6 million while funding for HIV/AIDS control increased to $12 million from $2, according to USAID Kenya.

Some politicians have been campaigning against family planning, with some even paying women to conceive, the paper said.

The government aims to reduce the population growth rate from 2.9 to 2.1 percent per year.

Kenya’s population has almost doubled in the last 20 years, to 39 million in 2010 from 21 million in 1989.



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