More than a million Kenyan women started using modern contraceptives in the past four years, with injectables, implants and the pill being the most preferred methods.
A new report by Family Planning 2020 indicates that 1.1 million women have started using contraceptives since 2012 and that, as a result, 1.3 million unintended pregnancies and 5,000 maternal deaths have been prevented.
FP2020 is a global movement that claims to support the rights of women and girls to decide freely and for themselves whether, when and how many children they want.
There are more than 300 million women and girls using modern contraception in the 69 countries covered in the report, a milestone that has taken decades to achieve.
The report, Momentum at the Midpoint 2015-2016, says that Eastern and Southern Africa have experienced the fastest growth in the use of modern methods and the steepest decline in unmet needs.
For the first time, more than 30 per cent of women and girls are using a modern method of contraception. In Kenya, the prevalence rate went up to 43.2 per cent from 37.2 per cent in 2012.
COUNTRIES LAGGING BEHIND
Despite the significant progress, collectively, the FP2020 partnership has not reached as many people as hoped. Data shows efforts are off-track by some 19 million women and girls.
It is estimated that almost 134 million married or in-union women of reproductive age have an unmet need for modern methods of contraception today across the FP2020 countries and even within individual countries.
In Kenya, the progress has been uneven with some counties lagging behind, especially in north-eastern areas.
“While we have not reached as many people as we had hoped by this time, the richness of the data now available enables us to peel back the layers and study the situation on a country-by-country basis, revealing a strikingly varied landscape of progress,” said FP2020 Executive Director Beth Schlachter.
Generally, there is a sizeable financing gap for family planning programmes and significant questions loom around how to ensure enough contraceptives are available for the unprecedented numbers of women and girls who need them.
Tackling these challenges will require a strategic and coordinated approach moving forward among many stakeholders. The report calls on the family planning community to urgently accelerate progress through investment and interventions grounded in the wealth of data and evidence now available.