Myths And Misconception Affect Use Of Modern Contraceptives, Says Ministry Of Health

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Myths and misconceptions surrounding contraception have been cited as a major barriers to the modern use of contraceptives in Kenya.

Speaking during commemorations to mark this year's World contraception day, the head of promotive and preventive services at the ministry of health, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, who was representing health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, said misinformed decisions have contributed to poor health outcomes for the mothers and their children.

"Despite our successes in family planning service provision, myths, misinformation, and misconceptions around modern contraceptives are an existential threat to family planning uptake in Kenya.

"In particular, the youth below the age of 25 constitute approximately 66% of the country's population and are the most vulnerable to myths and misinformation," said Mutahi Kagwe.

He said the government is working towards improving sexual and reproductive health literacy to address contraceptive fears through appropriate and gender-specific interventions to reach the youths with factual information while at the same time strengthening the use of community outreaches and counseling by community health volunteers to influence knowledge, attitude, skills, and practices related to family planning use at the community level.

Speaking during the celebrations, UNFPA representative in Kenya Anders Thomsen commended the Kenyan government on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that sets up a sustainable financing mechanism for the procurement of Family Planning commodities, with the goal of gradually increasing the national budget allocation for the procurement of commodities up to 100% in 2026.

According to Lillian Mutea from USAID, by helping women and girls limit pregnancies, providing family planning services is a cost-effective intervention that saves the lives of women and children.

While applauding progress made by Kenya in improving access to family planning, Dr. Samora Otieno from the Foreign commonwealth development office said the unmet need for family planning has fallen from 18 % in 2014 to 14 percent currently.

He, however, pointed out that disparities exist among the different counties and between women in urban and rural areas.

According to Dr. Mohammed Sheikh, the Director General of the National Council for population and development, this year's theme of breaking family planning myths in Kenya resonates well with the government's sustained efforts to ensure information and knowledge on voluntary family planning, which is universally accessible to all women of reproductive age in retaining and managing their desired families, is achieved.

World contraception day is premised on contraceptive choices that ensure every pregnancy is wanted by promoting family planning and contraceptive methods that are safe and preferred by the users.

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