Nyamira County has teamed up with a charity group to improve access to family planning services.
County Health Executive Douglas Bosire said the initiative, which is focusing on youth, will help reduce teen pregnancy.
A Ministry of Health fact sheet on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, shows that one in two men (age 20 to 54 years) and women (age 20 to 49 years) in Nyamira, first had sex by the age of 18 and 17, respectively.
Half of women aged 25 to 49 years got married by age 20, and more than a quarter (28 per cent) of girls aged 15 to 19 years have begun childbearing.
Nyamira has an adolescent birth rate of 133 births per 1,000 girls, against a national rate of 96 births per 1,000 girls.
HIGH TEENAGE PREGNANCY RATE
Despite having sex, only 53 per of girls aged 15 to 19 use contraceptives. This has contributed to a teenage pregnancy rate of 28 per cent, the fourth highest rate in the country.
This is why the county has partnered with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) to boost contraceptive use among youth, in a bid to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.
“Youth continue to face a myriad challenges in seeking contraceptives and suffer consequences such as unplanned pregnancy and HIV as a result of unprotected sex,” said Peter Kagwe, who was representing TCI, during the signing of the partnership.
In its first county integrated development plan (CIDP), the county acknowledged that lack of youth-friendly services was hampering access to birth control and HIV prevention services for youth.
It also noted that there was inadequate supply of reproductive health commodities, and pledged to update health workers on reproductive health issues, offer routine family planning services and equip health facilities with the requisite commodities and equipment.
In the current budget the health department got an allocation of Sh1.8 billion, with a huge chunk (Sh1.37 billion) going to salaries.
In an interview last year head of reproductive and maternal health services at the Ministry of Health Joel Gondi noted that in many counties, family planning services have to compete with other budgetary allocations, which are considered more important, hampering the availability of contraceptives.
It is estimated that Kenya needs Sh2.3 billion to meet the contraceptive needs of all women of reproductive age, but the national government only allocated Sh700 million for the provision of family planning services and commodities in 2017.
The sector which has depended on donor funding for years, is no longer getting as much support, and counties are expected to step up to fill the gap.