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Home / Health & Science

Central Kenya women top in family planning with an average of two children

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MERCY ADHIAMBO | Sun,Jan 17 2016 00:00:00 EAT
By MERCY ADHIAMBO | Sun,Jan 17 2016 00:00:00 EAT

Counties in Central lead in uptake of family planning, women education, child vaccination and attending antenatal clinics, a survey has revealed.

The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey findings show Kirinyaga County leads in family planning, with each household having an average of two children.

The survey which was conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) between May and October 2014 found that Nyeri, Kiambu and Nairobi tied in the second place with each household having an average of three children.

The government attributed the success in family planning success to high levels of education among families in the region. Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said the study has absolved men in Central from claims of being sterile and sexually inactive.

“I have heard made up stories of men who collapse by the door at 3am and their wives walk over them on their way to the farms. That is not true because the study shows they are actually using contraceptives,” said Muraguri on Thursday when the report was released.

North Eastern counties have performed dismally in using contraceptives, with areas such as Wajir recording an average of eight children per household. Women in West Pokot, Turkana and Samburu were also found to be having more than seven children.

This was attributed to low education level especially in women in arid and semi-arid areas. Wajir has only 21 per cent literate women, while Turkana and Garissa have 25 and 26 per cent respectively. However, Dr Abdi Maalim, health Director of Mandera County said North eastern counties face myriad challenges that prevent couples from using contraceptives.

He said cultural beliefs that transcend education are still observed in Mandera, with people viewing children as a blessing and an indication of wealth. Maalim regretted that access to medical facilities was a problem in arid and semi-arid areas.

“Family planning needs special medical practitioners, and we do not have many of them here. Some areas do not even have the products needed such as contraceptives, and it makes it very difficult to take up,” said Maalim.

North Eastern was also rated lowest among counties that have access to Mass media, with Turkana having more than 80 per cent of the women not accessing media at all. Kiambu, Nyeri and Nakuru counties topped the list of women who access media products.

KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi said education and access to media plays a big role in development of the country. Central also performed well on child spacing, with each household having an average interval of 54 months between children. North eastern had an average of 24 months.

Nyanza was found to have the youngest mothers. The study revealed that by the time a woman is 19 years old in Nyanza, she has the highest possibility of having had her first child.

Nyanza also has the highest teen mothers (22 per cent) followed closely by Coast and Rift Valley. Central had the lowest teen births, at 10 per cent.

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