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Bill Gates gives Sh2b to check population growth in Kenya

BUSINESS
By | June 16th 2011

By Kepher Otieno

The Bill Gates Foundation has released about Sh2 billion to check population growth. While the population grows, the national resources such as land remain scarce. Therefore, it is important that each family adopts safe family planning methods to cope with high cost of living.

The Bill Gates Foundation is keen to see Kenya embark on reproductive health control measures to check population growth.

The funds would be used to roll out an urban reproductive health programme in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu from July 1.

The project dubbed Tupange is expected to increase and sustain use of contraceptive devices among low-income families in urban areas.

Similar programmes would also be undertaken in Nigeria India and Senegal over a five-year period.

The national project co-ordinator Nelson Keyonzo said Tupange would help Kenyans realise Vision 2030 through birth control.

Mr Keyonzo urged urban families to guard against ‘reckless’ procreation to avoid running into financial difficulties.

"Urban population is about 32 per cent of Kenyan population. But surveys show the figure is likely to rise by 60 per cent," he said.

Contraceptives

Kenya’s population is 38.6 million and the number is growing while key resources are not expanding.

The population grows at about one million a year, posing a big threat to existing facilities.

The project is aimed at educating urban families on birth control methods. "We plan to up the promotion for use of contraceptive devices round the selected urban centres as an effective birth control method," said Keyonzo.

The programme is being implemented by a consortium of organisations among them Jhpiego an affiliate of John Hopkins University.

Others are National Co-ordinating Agency for Population and Development, Vision 2030, Pharm Access Africa, and Marie Stopes Kenya.

The team will also work with ministries of Public Health and Sanitation and Local Government and the private sector.

Keyonzo said they intend to work with the media to popularise the campaign. "Without media these efforts cannot be realised and have resolved to partner with the media in campaign programmes," said Keyonzo.

He made the revelations during Tupange Urban Reproductive Health Initiative workshop in Kisumu.

Reproductive health expert Ms Janet Omyonge disclosed that 36 per cent of families on contraceptives discontinued in 12 months.

"Discontinuing rates were high with about 59 per cent out 100 people sampled discarding the practice in a short period," she said.

This is according to surveys done by Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2009.

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